KOZHIKODE: From its very formation, Calicut University has made significant progress in sports, bringing many inter-university championships home and producing world-class sports personalities including 20 Olympians and 14 Arjuna awardees. Under a very eminent physical education director E.J. Jacob, who served the varsity for over two decades between 1969 and 1990, the University even got an epithet ‘sports university of the country’. At a time when stadiums were a rare sight in educational institutions, Calicut University was equipped with a vast athletic stadium and an indoor stadium.
“Sports got a big boost from the beginning,” remembered Prof. Jacob. “Prof. M M Gani, the first vice-chancellor, made sure the students representing the varsity are properly treated. He even skipped the syndicate meetings halfway for receiving the victorious university teams. We achieved significant feats in sports of which somewhere incredible. No varsity from Kerala won all Indian football champions till Calicut took it home in 1971. We achieved it with all new faces with no experience at national level. The coach was a handicapped man. We never looked back for many years after that.”
The university used to conduct events after raising money through sale of tickets in front of large number of sports enthusiasts, who even come from far distant places to watch the events, he recalled. “Competing in front of a large crowd used to boost the confidence of our players and that reflected in the field also,” added Prof. Jacob. The university presently has a world-class synthetic track in stadium, two football grounds, ongoing projects of swimming pool and sports hostels. During last year, the university won five national championships.