Like culture and art, recreational activity, leisure and sports play an important role in the hectic life we lead. Their many benefits include improving the health and well-being of individuals, contributing to the empowerment of individuals and promoting the development of inclusiveness. This was the sole purpose of establishing a "Recreational Club" with sports activity in CSIR-RRL/IICT, Hyderabad way back in early 1970s by the then Director, Late Dr. G S Sidhu.
In the initial stages, the staff club functioned from a temporary shed near G-type quarters in the IICT campus. The main sport activities were carrom, bridge game and table tennis. During Mr. M A Hadi (1975-77) and Dr. A R K Sastry (1977-79), as the secretaries, lot of cultural and literary activities including dance performances by famous artists were organized in the IICT auditorium. He received great support and encouragement from the then Director, Dr. G S Sidhu. “Andhrapradesh carrom tournament” was also organized and the volleyball court and a ball badminton court were laid between E type and G type quarters. In the year 1978, a full-fledged IICT team participated in the SSBMT tournament which was held at North East Institute of Science & Technology, Jorhat (erstwhile RRL-Jorhat).
After certain period of time, the club started functioning from the first floor above the auditorium within the campus of the institute with indoor games like Carrom Board, Chess, Table Tennis and some employees were good in the game of bridge. It is our bounden duty and privilege to say that CSIR RRL/IICT those days boasted of a very good bridge team comprising of Late Dr. G S Sidhu, Late Dr. Sajid Hussain, Mr. Y Nageshwar Rao, Mr. J S R Krishna Rao, Dr. J Madhusudhan Rao, Dr. L N Kota, Dr. Suresh Farsinavis, and Mr. K S Patil. They were players of great repute and on behalf of our Institute they represented in Nationals and International Bridge tournaments many a times and brought laurels, name and fame to the country and the institute.
The need for a full-fledged "Recreational Club" with good infrastructure was needed very urgently. In the year 1984 under the Directorship of Dr. G Thyagarajan the then director and club Secretary Dr. B M Choudhary, the present Club building was constructed and inaugurated with provision for all indoor games, a basketball court (adjacent to open air theatre) and shuttle badminton court with cement floor was also commenced. In addition to the club building an open air theatre was also constructed to accommodate 1000 persons. It was basically constructed to hold seminars, meetings and was also used to screen movies on a weekly basis for the benefit of the staff and their families. This has also reduced the burden on the auditorium situated within the premises of the Institute. It is noteworthy to mention that the present staff club was inaugurated by Telugu film veteran actor and Dadasaheb Phalke awardee, Sri Akkineni Nageswara Rao. Late Sri M L Jai Simha also graced the occasion and inaugurated our sports facilities. In 1984, IICT hosted the SSBMT tournament. In this tournament, IICT won the championship in Cricket and Bridge events. During this time the current two cricket grounds and a Volleyball court came into existence inside the residential campus. ).
As the number of employees using the shuttle badminton courts were increasing a new Shuttle badminton court complying to international standards was built with wooden flooring during the tenure of former Director Dr. A V Rama Rao, who also inaugurated the court. Mr. Mohd Ali, a famous badminton coach conducted a one week coaching camp for the benefit of IICT staff. During this period the club facilities were upgraded and club premises was also let out to staff members and their dependents to perform Marriages, or any other family functions on prior booking. Dr. Ahmed Khan, Dr. BT. Dwarakanath, Dr. P V Diwan, Mr. Sajid Khan and Mr. K S Patil officiated as General Secretaries of the club during this period. A national level carrom tournament was organized with Sri Bhave as the convener. On Saturdays Movies were also screened in the openair theatre. With the financial grant from sports promotion board, CSIR, New Delhi, a gym was started for the benefit of employees in the room (erstwhile ration shop) near the water tank. During 1994-96, IICT also hosted SSBMT zonal tournament under the leadership of Mr. K S Patil.
The recreational club was a buzz of activity in the evenings and on holidays with lots of staff taking up sports to keep themselves fit. The then President of IICT Club Late Dr. K V Raghavan and the secretary during his time Mr. S N Murthy Raju and Dr. B V S K Rao gave the much needed facelift to the tennis court by having a proper fence and provided the flood lit facility. As the cable TV was foraying into new territories, CSIR-IICT club committee took initiative to install the dish at the club premises and started to telecast the cable TV for the benefit of the staff and their families at a very nominal rate. Excursion, Picnics and trips to devotional and important tourist spots were arranged on a regular basis for the benefit of the club members and their families.
During the tenure of the then President of the club Dr. J S Yadav, the club secretaries at that time Dr. Ravinder Goud, Mr. S Ather Mehdi, Dr. R Srinivas, Dr. M Mohan Rao and Dr. Jeeva Ratnam with their team members served the club with lot of dedication. The present volleyball court was made flood lit, a new tennis court (with rooms for changing and toilet facilities), Dr. G S Sidhu pavilion at cricket grounds was constructed. The open space between the two badminton courts was covered to be used for dining purposes, an additional volleyball court, Basketball court near IICT ZM School and two net practice pitches for cricket were created in the colony campus and in the grounds of the IICT ZM School for the benefit of the staff, their families and the school children. The club embarked on conducting many sporting activities and successfully conducted SSBMT Zonal tournaments for indoor games, Nayudamma Memorial Cricket Tournament, SSBMT Outdoor games Finals, Finals of SSBMT Indoor and Outdoor games.
During the tenure of Dr. J S Yadav the then Director and Dr. R Srinivas, Gen. Secretary of the club, it was for the first time in the year 2007, that the players of Cricket and Volleyball travelled by air to Guwahati to participate in SSBMT finals held at CSIR-NEIST, Jorhat. The club realised the dreams of those few who could not afford to fly. Two new Basketball courts were also laid and existing two were renovated for hosting the SSBMT Anusandhan Basketball tournament. One-week hockey coaching camp for the benefit of children of IICT employees was organised in the school ground with the help of Late Sri Hanumanth Rao.
All the club activities were well sustained and encouragement was given for all the sports activities during the period of Dr. M Mohan Rao and Dr. Jeeva Ratnam (2008-2012). For hosting the SSBMT tournament at IICT in 2014, the existing volleyball courts were given facelift with the arrangement of flood lights. Sri L B Surya Prakash was the secretary and the facility was inaugurated by Dr. M Lakshmi Kantham, Director, CSIR-IICT.
Dr. N Lingaiah, Dr. B V S K Rao, and Dr. Rati Ranjan Nayak served the office of the secretary during the Directorship tenure of Dr. S Chandrasekhar and the club underwent a huge facelift and more infrastructure and more activities were added for the benefit of the regular users. Some of the important activities include aerobic classes for ladies, renovation of existing open air theatre and the room-below for playing TT and caroms, the cricket grounds were properly fenced, separate sports competitions for people above 55 years age, a new hall with a capacity of 500 plus was created to hold functions without disturbing the day to day activities of the club and a Snack Den. Good amount of income was generated from cricket grounds, tennis courts and badminton court. In 2018, IICT hosted Golden Jubilee SSBMT indoor and outdoor tournaments successfully under the leadership of Dr. B V S K Rao.
During the tenure of Dr. S Chandrasekhar the then Director, Dr P Srihari (Vice-President) and Dr. Rati Ranjan Nayak, Gen. Secretary of the club with their Executive committee members, the wooden flooring of the badminton court was re-laid and restructured to synthetic badminton court. The club building had a huge facelift sporting murals adorned the building, CCTV cameras were fixed in and around the club premises as a security measure, yoga classes were initiated and still being conducted regularly for the benefit of the employees. New Year eve was celebrated in open air theatre involving all the staff members along with their families, and research scholars on 31st December, 2019 for the first time. For the first time women T20 Cricket Tournament was organized as a part of Republic day outdoor tournaments. A dedicated Air-Conditioned Multi Gymnasium was created with all the modern equipments. Two open air gymnasium facilities were also created, one besides Atithi Guest House and the other one in the residential campus for the benefit of the employees and their families. A beautiful turf cricket pitch was laid in the “Cricket Ground A” and inaugurated on 08th Jan 2022 by the then in charge Director Dr. V M Tiwari.
I am sure that the sporting activities of CSIR-IICT will reach its zenith under the dynamic leadership of the present Director, Dr. D Srinivasa Reddy as he is a sportsman, an avid player of Shuttle Badminton, Tennis and sports loving person.
The players of CSIR-IICT excelled in many tournaments and won prizes and laurels for the Institute in the tournaments conducted by Sports Promotion Board and CSIR-IICT Club. The existence of a "Recreational Club" offers many different benefits to the individual and that can be achieved by participating in leisure opportunities. Most of these benefits are:
As an Individual: Develops Personal Development and Growth, Physical Health, Self Esteem and Self Reliance, Creativity and Sense of Accomplishment, Creates more Fun, Enhances Pleasure, Reduces Stress, Increases Life Satisfaction, Promotes Psychological Well-being.
As a Community: Connected Families, Strengthens Social Bonding, Ethnic and cultural Harmony, Reduces Alienation, Develops Strong Communities.
The Players, Staff Members, and their families thank whole heartedly the efforts put in by the respected Directors of the Institute, Vice Presidents, General Secretaries and elected committee members for sparing their valuable time and energy for creating such a vibrant environment in our Institute. We would like to thank all past club secretaries who gave some valuable information with lot of enthusiasm.
Disclaimer: This article is based on the information received from some of the past IICT club secretaries and from our memory. We regret if we have missed any important information.
R Srinivas & K Sriram