Ameeza admired the enduring spirit of the event. “The enthusiasm for Nation Cup grows greater each year, I am both surprised and proud to see how seriously students have taken the event,” claimed the Sports Officer. She was all praises the Nottingham Sports Team and the International Officer’s International Student Bureau, who, alongside her team, “have been amazing [and] helped control the chaos.”
When asked of the contribution and merit of the two teams, Ameeza explains how all 17 members were hand-picked based on their sports background – these individuals had their own subcommittees that helped cover and coordinate the 16 sports for both male and female divisions. This meticulous assignment and distribution of work would greatly reduce the chance of miscalculation of scores: A smart decision, considering the fact that eventual victors Malaysia won the trophy with a jaw-dropping 988 points. Such careful planning helped remove any doubt of miscalculation playing a factor.
However, it does pose a very important question: How did Malaysia win with a surplus of over 400 points ahead of second-place holder Sri Lanka? Furthermore, considering the fact that Malaysia won the tournament a second time, prior to which Sri Lanka won the cup (in 2012), what hope do other countries have of winning in the future?
Ameeza did acknowledge, during the brief conversation with Humans of UNMC, the home advantage that Malaysia has – simply put, the sheer number of Malaysian students on campus ensured a higher degree of participation. However, she noted that there are also large populations of South East Asian countries as well as those from South Asia, such as Sri Lanka and India, and there were also strong African teams in Nigeria and Egypt.
While focusing on skill over meeting participation quotas was a good way to ensure wins for some nations in particular sports (such as Sri Lanka dominating in cricket or UK women’s team winning gold for netball and hockey), it was not the most effective method for winning the cup itself. In fact, mere participation is key for winning the overall trophy – one can even win points for simply participating in an event, regardless of whether you win the medal. Gold winners gain 30, silver 18 and bronze 10 points for their respective nations while those who participate individually or as a team receive 3 points and 5 points respectively. Malaysia had 200 participants and won 16 gold medals which accounts for 480 points in itself.
Furthermore, “each country can place up to four representatives per sport” claims Linur, the Uzbekistan Ambassador. Some countries have taken full advantage of that – Malaysia, for example, have won all three medals in a single sport while others could not even field members in some sports. While the sports team has been very careful not to repeat the infamous swimming incident of 2012, this four-representative rule seems rather unfair to smaller nations that lack the resources to take full advantage.
Similarly, gender has also been an issue; sports has generally been a field dominated by men at UNMC and this year seems to be no exception despite the femme fatale element in the organizing committees (Aish and Ameeza, the officers responsible). Perhaps, this lack of interest on part of the female population of UNMC might simply be a lack of interest. Perhaps ,future organizers should focus their energies on attempting to engage the female population of the university when recruiting participants for the next Nations Cup. Furthermore, in most sports, there was gender segregation due to disparity in physical strength between the sexes however it was rather odd to find the segregation in chess, a sport of the wits. This unnecessary segregation could be a possible clue as to how Malaysia reached the 900 mark.
Nevertheless Nations Cup began an as ISB event, a place to show off national pride and attain glory and we are definitely looking forward to the next one.
Photography credit to Digital Arts Guild and IGNITE Photographer Rafique Muzhaffar.
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