by Bay Jia Wei (17S06R)
Photos by Nadya Ang (16S03D) of Raffles Photographic Society
Watching a game of fierce and determining ricochets proved to be an intense experience for those who gathered to witness the Table Tennis finals on the 22nd of April. One could hardly imagine the degree of tension felt by the RI A-Division paddlers who faced immense pressure, given their track record of consecutive victories for the last 3 years. Furthermore, both teams were up against formidable opponents of the Table Tennis scene – Hwa Chong Institution for the girls, and Nanyang Junior College for the boys.
For those amongst us who are not well-acquainted with the sport, here goes a brief explanation: teams play 5 matches, and the title is given to the team who first wins 3 matches.
Perhaps the most hypnotic of the many movements in Table Tennis is the service. It is a swift motion, executed with extreme focus, that starts off a rally where seconds and millimetres matter. Every fist pump for a tough point secured was the result of trained accuracy and agility. Despite losing the first match, the RI A-Division girls kept their cool and played on, eventually claiming the championship by winning the next three matches. In an interview with the Captain of the girls’ team, Li Jiaxin (16S07D) mentioned that this was part of their strategy and she was glad that it turned out well. She was also proud of her team members who played excellently, by “putting in all [their] effort and doing [their] best”.
The RI A-Division boys saw fiercer competition, with both teams playing out all 5 matches. It was difficult to keep track of the fast-paced scoring and many games were won by narrow margins. Nanyang Junior College proved to be a worthy opponent, taking our A-Division boys right to the end with a 2-2 tie by the fourth match. The mood was high-strung and both schools engaged in impassioned school cheers to motivate the players. Interestingly, however, the cheers quietened down whenever service was about to begin or when an intense rally was in progress. The unspoken understanding that the players needed the space for extreme concentration was heartening. The final singles match was a neat conclusion for the RI A-Division boys amidst heightened tension, where games were convincingly won by distinct margins. Mr Chan Joon Kiat, the teacher in-charge for RI Y5-6 Table Tennis, was impressed by the “strength of the fighting spirit” which he thought was a determining factor in contributing to the eventual 3-2 victory.
Alongside the stellar performance seen, some lessons surfaced during the game, when one of the RI A-Division boys leapt onto the table to let out a victory cry after winning an intensely-fought match. An RI teacher, Mr Se Kuan Pin, commented that such an action reflected a disappointing “lack of sportsmanship”, to which the RI Table Tennis team declined to comment. Mr Se’s comments would perhaps be a reminder that amidst our quests for victory, we ought not to let the cry of success overshadow the subtle voice of sportsmanship, and that we ought to remember to treat others with respect and dignity. And because none of us are infallible, we should also understand and forgive the instances in which we forget to be so.
Tian Jing Yi (17A03A), Linda Zeng Zi Yue (17S06M), Lim Ye Xuen (17S06S), Sophia Gan Song-Hui (17S06H), Geraldine Lee Boon Sim (17S06O), Wu Wenshan (17S03P), Li Jia Xin (16S07D), Kwok Qian Yi (16S06F)
Lu Jing Guang (17S06D), Tan Wei Lun Julian (17S05A), Sean Pang Jia Le (17S03C), Yin Jing Yuan (16S06C), Yang Chenye (16S06R), Yap Heng Kai (16S06I), Tan Rong Jun Daryl (16S03K), Goh Shao Feng Ryan (16S03K), Lim Jin Jie (16S06C), Wong Yu Cong (16S03M)