By Isabelle Tan (19S03S), Vanessa Lur (19S06Q) and Phang Yeu Yeou (19A01A)
Photos courtesy of Raffles Dragonboating
This year’s ‘A’ Division Dragon Boating Finals was a significant event for the newly established Raffles Dragon Boating team to make a name for the team. They were competing against not only other JCs and polytechnics but also alongside adults from many other organisations ranging from Singapore Prison Service Dragon Boat Team to Breast Cancer Foundation – Paddlers in the Pink (BCF-PIP). Furthermore, the J2s were stepping down after the competition and their desire to leave on a high note was evident. Angelica Ang (18S03K) explained that “today’s race was especially important to us as it was a culmination of our past 1.5 years of hard work, as well as the legacy we would leave behind for the coming batches”.
Held at the DBS Marina Regatta 2018 at Marina Bay Sands on 2nd June 2018, supporters were free to watch the entertaining races and show their support. Before reaching the venue, we had expected a low turnout rate as the event was held in the midst of the June holidays when most students would be preparing for their upcoming cts or having fun during their rare break. However, much to our surprise, we spotted many Rafflesians at Marina Bay supporting their friends. This truly showed our strong school spirit as Rafflesians willingly sacrificed their free time to show support to other fellow Rafflesians. The girls from the dragon boating team also showed school spirit by donning Raffles themed tattoos last seen on spirit week this year.
During the races, the air was filled with excitement as the audience cheered loudly for teams they supported. Just like us, many gathered around the big screen set up at the venue to get a close-up view of the races. Our eyes were glued to the screen, oohs and aahs escaping us as a certain team overtook another abruptly, boats quickly approaching the finish line. Even mere seconds were enough to determine a difference in placing from 1st to 3rd place, which made the competition exhilarating and kept the audience buzzing with excitement.
The competition was both intense and short-lived with each race only spanning a short duration of around a minute with the waits in between each race taking up the actual bulk of the time. It started off with the first rounds for the 200m-Dragonboat 12 person team Inter-School Race where both gendered teams fought hard to clinch their spots in the finals. We are proud to say that 3 out of 4 of our dragonboat 12-person teams made it into the finals, reflecting the hard work they have put in so far. In the finals for the 12 person teams, our Team A for girls did especially well and clinched the spot of second place. Team A for guys and Team B for the girls also did well with both teams clinching the 5th spot in their respective finals. For the 200m – DragonBoat 22 person team Inter School Race, the boys team managed to rank 3rd place and the girls team managed to rank 2nd place for the finals.
These victories of our dragonboating team are remarkable and did not come easy. The chinese saying “台上十分钟，台下十年功” describes the situation perfectly. It means that to perform for a mere ten minutes on stage, a performer or athlete has had to put in 10 years of hard work before the performance. This reflects how the dragonboating team only had a few minutes to show for the long hours of hard work they had put in these past few months. Who in the audience would actually understand the blood, sweat and tears that they actually put in during their numerous intensive trainings?
Prior to the competition, the dragonboating team had trainings on 3 out of 5 days of the week with most of the team also attending the optional trainings on Saturdays and Sundays. Even on days without training, dragonboaters could be found in the gym when majority of the school were busy preparing for their common test papers. “A lot of people think (that) dragonboating only requires arm strength but actually the motion is such that you come out with your core and back and thighs aching too” commented Amanda Chen (19S03E), “plus (you will get) very bad suntans and blisters from gripping the paddle too hard”. This reflects how hard our dragonboating team has been working for the past few months and are deserving of their victories in this race.
The results for this year’s ‘A’ division dragonboating finals were exceptional and Raffles Press would like to commend the Raffles Dragonboating team for their efforts and hard work in staying resilient all this while to bring their team to greater heights.