Bengaluru April 27: With 20 disciplines conducted over 10 days, and over 200 Universities in the fray for medals, the Khelo India University Games 2021 are, by far, the biggest multi-disciplinary university event to be held in India ever.
The event is also the first large-scale multi-disciplinary event public broadcaster Doordarshan has taken on since the National Games 2015. And with the evolution in technology, broadcasting techniques, and livestreams over the past few years, India’s oldest broadcasting service has kept in step.
Doordarshan is broadcasting an all day (0700-1900) live stream for the games on DD Sports. Five Outside Broadcasting (OB) vans are deployed for the games. Over 150 cameras, manned by more than 85 camerapersons are constantly on the move at the multiple campuses hosting the events in Bengaluru. Every live event has a minimum of 8 cameras at the venue. Every OB Van, in addition, is equipped with two slow motion cameras and two EVs.
In addition, the Prasad Bharati sports YouTube channel has five separate livestreams everyday. Four are sports specific and a fifth replicates the DD Sports feed. Through the day, Doordarshan is also sending highlight packages, through their social media feeds to over 10 million subscribers. Eleven additional ENG setups gather feeds which are compiled into highlight and interview packages to be put out later in the day.
In addition to a massive pan India technical crew — the total number of personnel are over 250 — the broadcaster has also brought onboard 35 Hindi and English commentators for the event. These include veterans like Milind Wagle, Sanjay Banerje, Charu Sharma as well as former athletes like Trupti Murgunde and anchor Sunil Taneja. Three anchored shows, through the day, analyse and preview the day’s events.
“In my 47 years as a commentator, this may well be the largest multi-disciplinary event I have seen ever conducted at this level,” commentator Milind Wagle said. ” With changing times, technological innovation is necessary, but it has also forced us to evolve and learn, which is very valuable. We are now able to bring in various inputs, analysis and expertise seamlessly into our commentary, hoping it also makes for pleasurable viewing.”
Sanjay Benerjee opined that broadcasting a grassroot sporting event on such a vast scale will serve to inspire young athletes for the future. “Doordarshan has a huge reach.And the objective of this broadcast is similar to the objective of the games itself. Athletes should feel pride to be part of this competition, get inspired, and perhaps feel the support from the system…”
There is no doubt that live coverage on a public broadcaster’s feed has been a boon for many athletes, currently at the games. Weightlifter Chirag Waghavale, from Savitribai Phule Pune University said that the broadcast meant his family and friends could watch him compete for once, without having to be there at the venue in person. “Weightlifting isn’t the most popular sport and most of the time our competitions are not on TV,” he said. “But Khelo India puts it on TV. My friends, family watched my lifts. My neighbours also did.”
“It convinces everyone around that what I am doing is not in vain,” he laughed.