HUSTINGS COVERAGE 2017: SA SPORTS OFFICER

The Sports Officer hustings took place on the 13th of March, with three candidates vying for the position. Despite presenting reasonable manifesto points, all three seemed to crumble under the pressure of the Question and Answer Session.

Hussain Rizam.

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The first candidate of the night for the position of Sports Officer, Rizam began by pledging to hire coaches for the sports clubs on campus. He elaborated by stating that he would seek the help of graduates who excelled in sports to help out with the coaching. Rizam also promised to introduce first aid training for at least a couple of members of every sports club, in order to equip them the necessary knowledge in the event of an emergency. He also planned on introducing female only gym sessions as well as increasing the privacy during female swimming sessions. Finally, he suggested a new equipment borrowing system replace the current renting system, as well as pledging to maintain good communications with the sports clubs on campus.

Question and Answer Session: Hussain Rizam

Rizam was immediately asked about the relevance of introducing female only gym sessions as well the increase of privacy during the female swimming sessions. He explained that some female gym users had expressed their reluctance in using the gym during the peak hours as it would be crowded. He also brought up the issue of Muslim females who felt uncomfortable that the walls that surrounded the swimming pool had spaces which allowed others to look through them. Rizam then suggested a system whereby female gym users were allowed an hour to use the gym.

He was then quizzed by outgoing Sports Officer, Andy Tan, about the feasibility of certain aspects of his manifesto. This was such as obtaining the funding for projects like hiring coaches and providing first aid training. Rizam replied by stating that he was going to opt for graduates instead of professional coaches and provide them with non-monetary incentives. When asked about prioritising certain sports clubs in terms of receiving subsidies, Rizam seemed a little flustered and was unable to provide a concrete answer.

He was also asked about female representation in sporting events. To this, he referred to his manifesto where he stated that he would focus on maintaining a good form of communication between the sports club. He claimed that he aims to receive feedback from the sports clubs and would take action whenever necessary.

Conclusion: Hussain Rizam

Rizam started off strongly, however, he faltered slightly during the Q&A session, often times providing shaky answers and going around in circles when pressed. Yet, the inclusion of the concerns of female students was appreciated by some of the students.

Essameldin Mohamed Gouda.

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Essameldin began his hustings with a spirited opening, peppering his speech with impressive statements and promises. He claimed that he had met the presidents of 16 sports clubs, and had listened to their problems. In his manifesto, he acknowledged that coaching and funding were two major problems faced by the Nottingham Sports Team. To combat this issue, he suggested a system where sports clubs would provide updates on their progress as well as performances. These updates will then be used to decide the allocation of funding from the Sports Development Fund.

He also touched on some of the projects by the senior management that were currently in the pipeline, such as a covered swimming pool, and a second field for track and field activities. Essameldin then spoke about utilising the NST for more events and organising an Open Sports Day where sports clubs can organise games for new and interested students to try out. He also planned on collaborating with the Education Officer to organise an inter-faculty sports carnival.

Question and Answer Session: Essameldin Mohamed Gouda

The candidate was asked about his past experience as a student leader, to which he explained that he was a part of the NST. He was also the president of the Egyptian Society, where he managed to raise the society’s budget through a single event.

However, he was put in a tight spot when his credentials were challenged as he was questioned as to why he was only able to organise a single event for one of the largest societies on campus. To this, Essameldin stated that as a cultural society, there was only so much that can be done.

When asked about lobbying for a track and field club, Essameldin acknowledged that it was a large project to undertake. He said that he would speak to the management about it. Andy then stepped in to clarify that the project was indeed a development that was being undertaken by the management.

As with the Home Students Officer hustings on Friday, Returning Officer, Miflal, once again reminded the floor to only direct questions to the candidates. Andy complied by asking Essam about his mode of action when faced with a vacancy in the Sports Manager position, which would prevent the Sports Officer from providing maintenance for the facilities as well as utilising funds.

This was apparently a problem that Andy had faced when the Sports Manager resigned in August last year, leaving the position vacant until mid-November. Essameldin answered by claiming that he would relay the message to the SA President if they were to meet the senior management.

He was then pressed by many members of the audience regarding the more ambitious projects highlighted in his manifesto. However, he repeatedly pointed out that most of the projects mentioned were, in fact, those proposed by the senior management. One notable example was when he was asked about the relevance of a covered swimming pool, as it is not encouraged to swim during a thunderstorm. To this, Essam simply stated that it was the idea of the Sports Manager, and not his.

Conclusion: Essameldin Mohamed Gouda

While his laid-back and seemingly confident demeanour seemed to draw applause from certain sections of the audience, many of Essameldin’s answers did not sit well with some of the students. A number felt that he appeared too relaxed to be taken seriously. Furthermore, some of his answers seemed to be lacking in substance. Nevertheless, he was cheered on by some members of the audience for the perceived “sass” in his answers.

Omar Al-Shweekh.

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The final candidate of the night began his hustings by presenting an outline of what he was going to be talking about. He then provided a highly organised speech by dividing it into two distinct parts; what he has achieved, and what he plans on achieving as Sports Officer.

Omar planned on introducing an inter-department sports tournament, similar to the inter-faculty games suggested by fellow candidate Essameldin. He also pledged to address issues faced by the sports clubs on campus and ensured that he would see to the maintenance of the facilities at the Sports Complex. Additionally, Omar plans to reintroduce the Sports Awards Ceremony, hoping that the idea can be carried on for more years to come.

Omar then mentioned that he was a suitable candidate as he had been working with the Sports Complex staff for the past three years and had a good working relationship with them.

Question and Answer Session: Omar Al-Shweekh

Omar was asked about the lack of a covered walkway to the Sports Complex, which made it highly inconvenient for athletes to get to the Sports Complex in the event of heavy rain. Omar admitted that such an idea had not occurred to him, to which he recovered by stating that by becoming the Sports Officer, he would seek to hear the voices and opinions of all the students.

He was then asked about the relevance of the Sports Awards. As there had been a talk of a similar ceremony being held during the SA Ball. Omar replied by stating that students would not want to pay high prices for the SA Ball, and the Sports Awards Ceremony that was held 2 years ago was deemed a success.

Omar was then asked if he was going to be bringing anything new to the table, as all he seemed to talk about in his manifesto were ideas that have already been implemented. Omar replied by saying that he planned on establishing a monitoring team which will monitor the progress of the sports clubs and pressure the management into providing more funding.

Outgoing Sports Officer Andy Tan raising some questions for the candidates.

Outgoing Sports Officer Andy Tan raising some questions for the candidates.

Andy then grilled him about the difficulties the Sports Manager and previous Sports Officers had to face when dealing with the Football Club, of which he was a president. Andy stated that the Football Club had been the most difficult to work with, often times submitting late paperwork and not following the standard operating protocol. Omar’s response was slightly defensive, arguing that he was no longer the President and thus had no say in such matters.

Conclusion: Omar Al-Shweekh

Omar impressed many with the level of organisation in his hustings speech and answered the first few questions very well. However, he did himself no favours by becoming defensive and almost condescending when pressed on certain issues later on during the Q&A session.

 

Written by Saran Anandan.

Photographs by 

I have two sides; one which is overly-passionate and far too inclined to start debates, and the other that just wants to curl up with a book forever. Writing is and will always be my true love.

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