RI Sports Coaches Bare All

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By Claire Yip (13A01A)

This week, we bring you exclusive previews of the upcoming edition of Eagle Eye, which will be distributed to all staff and students at the end of the month. Jointly produced by RI’s Corporate Communications Department and Raffles Press (Yr 5–6), Eagle Eye is the school’s official magazine.

Abdul Hamid Khan, Badminton

Coach Hamid is in charge of the Badminton team for Year 1–6, and he is a full-time, freelance coach. He also coaches the team at Nan Chiau Primary School and is involved in MOE’s Junior Sports Academies programme.

“Of course, winning is our main goal, but as a coach, my emphasis is on the athlete. I want to train a player to be a complete person—not just a better badminton player. And the two go hand in hand. To be a good athlete, you have to be mentally, physically, and technically strong. If they have developed all these strengths, then I’m sure they will succeed—not just in badminton, but also in life. Because of this, if you ask the badminton team, they will tell you that I’m very strict, very firm, and very fierce. But I treat everyone equally. Reserves, players, first singles—they’re all the same to me. Because RI badminton is all about the team. Nobody is above the team, and that includes myself.

“In RI, we don’t have a tradition of team bonding activities, but I’m trying to create one. At the end of each year, I normally bring my RI boys to Indonesia for two weeks of full-time training. They train together and the team bonds together. I feel that if you work together as a team, you will definitely succeed.

“You know, RI students aren’t going to play badminton for the rest of their lives. Of course, I’m a bit disappointed when they leave the sport, but not surprised. I can only think of one former RI student who’s still playing badminton: Vanessa Neo, who plays full-time for the national team. Other than that, I see lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers…

“I feel that the school has done a lot for badminton. At every finals match, no matter what, as long as she’s in the country, Mrs Lim Lai Cheng, the principal, will come down and give her support to the team. I’ve been with RI for 15 years, and I’ve seen players, principals, and Heads of Department come and go, and I must say that Mrs Lim definitely gives a lot of support. So, yes, when I see Mr Mag [Mr Magendiran, Senior Deputy Principal], Mrs Lim, teachers, and students at our badminton matches, I would say that we get enough recognition from the school. ‘Of course money is important, yes, but recognition is not about money or getting a certificate. It’s about people coming up to me and saying: ‘Coach Hamid, congratulations,’ or: ‘The boys really fought hard that day.’ That is the sort of recognition I’m looking for—the sort that money cannot buy.”

To read two exclusive interviews with our school’s water polo and bowling coaches, pick up the print edition of Eagle Eye.

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