UNMC REACTS: NATIONS CUP 2017

The period of blood, sweat and tears between the 20th of October to the 10th of November has come to an end. Recently IGNITE spoke to various members of the UNMC community to ask their thoughts on Nations Cup 2017.

General Thoughts

We asked the interviewees what they thought of Nations Cup as a whole, including the length of the event, the multiculturalism and how it compared to last year’s Nations Cup.

What did you think of Nations Cup 2017?

There are one or two hiccups that every Nations Cup has to experience. I liked the fact that it was a little longer than previous Nations Cups in (the) sense that they tried to not allow sports to clash with one another and it gives athletes (more opportunities) to take part in more sports.

— Nethmie Dehigama, athlete, spectator

I think this year’s was really good, but the only problem was the event itself being really long. It went on for three weeks but they made it really organized – the sports officers have done a good job and everyone had a good time.

– Shaziyah Samad, athlete

What do you think of the whole idea of Nations Cup?

I think it’s a great idea of emerging different cultures and different ethnicities and also recognizing that everyone can be friends through playing sports.

— Ungku ‘Arifin, spectator

It is a great concept. For people who really like sports, it is an outlet and an opportunity for them. And for the countries as well, it is a good way to bond and come together.

—Nethmie Dehigama, athlete, spectator

I like the idea of Nations Cup because this brings nations together within itself and among each other with friendly competition.

— Anonymous, spectator.

How would you compare this year’s Nations cup to last year’s?

I think the biggest difference between this year and last would be the medal presentation at the end of the event, with country’s national anthems being played and their flag raised. I think it was a good idea to add this in as you can see the pride of each participant on the podium when their national anthem is played.

— Sarah Ann Thorp, athlete

I thought that it was very under-promoted. I did not know about it until a week before compared to last year where we had more time to prepare our teams.

— Anonymous, athlete

This is my third nation’s cup. Every year they try to change something about it so it becomes more exciting. This time it was really organized. Last year I felt a lot of things were chaotic. But this year it was easy to interact with the people around and if I had any problem, I went to them and they would help me. I played futsal and water polo; we had classes and clashes and we went to the officers and they changed the schedule for us. I felt they knew what they were doing.

— Aishath Sada, athlete

Last year they had a separate award ceremony and it was only for ten day. This time they had a new strategy they implemented; they gave the medals immediately after each game so you don’t have to come on a separate day and have it be really long – the prize giving finished early so it was really convenient.

— Shaziyah Samad, athlete

Well, no event is perfect. Last year there were unexpected issues with (events) clashing which this year Sports Officer, Omar Shweikh, has studied and tried to overcome by stretching out the nation’s cup from 2 weeks to 3 weeks. 

I also enjoyed being part of the Opening and Closing ceremony as the emcee. Due to unexpected weather conditions, most of the ceremony took part in the indoor court which happened to work in our favour as the speakers were not loud enough for audience to hear in the outdoor field, but in the indoor court it was loud and clear to everyone.  

A lesson was learnt from that day and hence the sports officer decided to hold the closing ceremony in the Great Hall where rain was avoided and performances could be observed in a better with more effects and clearer music and speech.

-Mohammad Eslam Shahin, NST Team

Management

We asked members of the Nottingham Sports Team and even some from the IGNITE team on how Nations Cup was managed.

Was Nations Cup well managed and well organised?

Honestly, no. I heard that they changed one of the event(s) without much notice, they just posted a notice on their Facebook page instead of emailing people.

— Anonymous, IGNITE writer.

It was done poorly, the lack of medical facilities was atrocious, I saw two Malaysian footballers stretchered off in the finals and one in the semi-finals (from a total of only 9 players). The way swim races were timed and the way teams were registered were both curious. Referee selection was also an issue, the way the referee in the football final didn’t see the Malaysian goalkeeper being kneed in the neck as a foul is still astonishing.

— Sheerwan O’Shea-Nejad, UK Ambassador

It was a bit too long. I am a master student and my classes are at night so for me it was difficult. I understand that it was three weeks to accommodate everyone. It had its pros and cons. All the finals were on the last week. I played squash and I found it inconvenient because there were three games and every game was on a different day for ten to fifteen minutes and I had classes during the time of those games but they didn’t manage to change it and I had to miss two classes. But futsal and water polo were good.

— Aishath Sada, athlete

The only issue was that it was really long, three weeks of Nation’s Cup with university life is difficult, like people who play more than ten sports; it becomes really inconvenient for them. Badminton was the sport I had the most trouble with because it was spread out –  one match on Monday, another on Saturday, then again on Monday and again on Saturday, while they could have had two matches in one day.

— Shaziyah Samad, athlete

Were you able to find out the changes to the schedule?

Not for my first event which was the swimming one, the event was supposed to start at 9am but it was changed to 4pm. I didn’t receive any notice and in the end, it wasted my time. I only found out after asking the Head.

— Anonymous, IGNITE

I am able to find out the changes of schedule but there are a lot of delays and change of location.

— Anonymous, IGNITE

Controversies

As to be expected, an event as big as Nation’s Cup will not happen without some debate surrounding it. This year there was major conflict over the conduct of the Sports Officer towards the players. There were also issues regarding the rules and regulations of substituting players.

On the 2nd of November, a complaint was made against the British female volleyball team for having a Bulgarian playing for their team and was disqualified. The Nations Facebook then released an official statement.

The Sports Officer approached the team about this and afterwards the team alleged that racist language was used against them. 

The open racism faced by my team was appalling, the Sports Officer told our non-white players they “didn’t look British” and when they tried to explain you could immigrate to the UK he said blood is what makes citizenship. Such racism was astonishing and disgraceful so ideally that won’t be here next year. 

-Sheerwan O’Shea-Nejad, UK Ambassador

We asked the Sports Officer to comment and he denies having used such language on them, stating that it was purely an issue of Nationality and that the player was advised beforehand that she could not join the British team.  

The UK team has lodged an official complaint to the university but no conclusion has yet been reached. 

Others have also commented on the issue:

The Executives are simply a concised student body that represent us and can discuss our concerns in different areas, such as sports, education, welfare for internationals and locals, and so on. Those group of students happen to be our friends and they have volunteered in previous years to represent us and we voted for them. So, I really hope that students understand that racism and discrimination claims that have been issued against any of them can hardly be true because they live among us and their job is to interact with all students from different countries, backgrounds and cultures. Their reputation is what got them to the position they are in right now. 

-Mohammad Eslam Shahin, NST Team

A lot of people called him (SA sports Officer) racist. There was a volleyball game and he had to disqualify people because others complained. The UK volleyball team had girls from other nations and people came to know about it and complained; he is the person in charge so he has to take action. So, they were disqualified because they didn’t have the passport or a permanent resident ship.

— Aishath Sada, athlete

How Can Nations Cup Be Improved?

Some feedback and suggestions were also given from our interviewees for the reference of future Nations Cup and what they wished to see for a change.

General rules and regulations about what can and can’t be done for participating teams especially involving replacements and addition of team members after the registration period ends should be written in BLACK AND WHITE. I know there was R&R [rules and regulations] for each sport but they don’t seem to mention anything about what I stated above.

— Anonymous, Nottingham Sports Team

The improvement could be in having first aid on the spot for every sport. An ambulance on stand-by at the sports complex in the case of severe injuries could also be thought of. I also think that more rehearsals on the closing ceremony transitions and performances so it could be smoother.

— Mohannad Eslam Shahin, NST Team

The improvement of the communications can be done since everything is done through Facebook. The timetable is also very messy as it is not stated clearly the date, time, and venue change.

— Sebastien, spectator.

The first aid could be improved, because this year there was a lot of injuries. We wouldn’t know if it is more compared to last year, but I think it needs to be improved.

— Aishath Sada, athlete

The lack of impartial referees ties into one of the greatest issues, the way certain nations become far too competitive over what should just be a friendly series of sports.

– Sheerwan, UK Ambassador

I think they should do it in the second semester. I heard some complains about how Nation’s Cup is sort of a war zone between countries. It makes the people stick to their countries and not interact with other people and an event like Nation’s Cup happening in the first semester make freshers immediately join their countries’ groups. So maybe if it is in the second semester, it will give the freshers a chance to get to know the people from other nations.

Also, all the teams had the chance to have their flags hanged up and their national anthems played except for the Rest of the World team. Maybe they could raise all the team members’ flags, just to have their own countries represented.

— Fidaa Abozar Mergani Elbushra, athlete

What did you think of this year’s Nations Cup? Let us know in the comments.

 

The opinions and views of the participants do not reflect the views of IGNITE Management.

Written by Rzan Mohamed and Khairina binti Khairul Nizam

"They say that great minds think alike, but also fools seldom differ"

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