By Cece Cao Chenxi (23A01E) and Noh Sangeun (23S06Q)
Photos courtesy of Raffles Photographic Society.
On 10 May, the Kallang Squash and Tennis Centre was filled with an air of trepidation and excitement as spectators trickled in to watch the Squash Girls’ Finals 2022. This marked the first National School Games (NSG) season since 2019, and RI’s squash girls were ready to defend their championship title.
This year, RI faced long-time rival Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC) in the finals. Amidst enthusiastic cheers, Waverly Wu (22S03F) stepped up to play the first game of the finals. The first shot was served in a resounding thud, and the game had officially begun.
The spectators were on the edge of their seats as the players darted around the court, sending shot after shot at each other at lightning speed. While Waverly put up a good fight, her opponent — the strongest player on ACJC’s team — refused to back down, and the point for the first match ultimately went to ACJC.
RI bounced back in the next game as Joy Lim (22S03R) stepped onto the court with her game face fixed on. With swift returns, Joy effortlessly bested her opponent over all three games, winning RI’s first match.
Praise Lee (22S06H) opened with a strong serve for the next game, skilfully winning the first set. However, her opponent proved to be a tough nut to crack. The tension in the air was palpable as the players went head to head, the scores drawing closer and closer. Ultimately, Praise came out on top, winning RI its second match.
“Hearing [my teammates] outside cheering boosted my morale a lot,” Praise said with a smile. “When I heard the drums, it was really nice too — it showed how much the school [had] my back.”
The fourth match took a timeout as the ACJC player sustained an injury, but both Cheyenne Mah (22S03N) and her opponent came back unfazed. Cheyenne kept up RI’s winning streak, coming out victorious for all three sets. At the end of the match, the players hugged in a heart-warming show of sportsmanship, reminding spectators that the NSG was not simply a competition, but a chance for players to learn from each other and deepen their passion for sports.
Ready to make the victory even sweeter, Isabelle Koh (23A01C) stepped up for the final match. She left her opponent with no room to breathe as she scored point after point, easily winning the fast-paced game. The championship was now officially in RI’s hands for the third consecutive NSG, and the match supporters erupted into cheers and thunderous applause.
The victory had not been an easy journey – the team had put in months of training leading up to the games. With practice three days a week, squash had become a constant in the players’ lives. As we interviewed the players, we found that all of them had played squash for at least 6 years, an ode to their passion and dedication to the sport.
Over the course of my squash journey I’ve developed a very real love and passion for squash and the adrenaline rush I get when playing a match.Isabelle Koh (23A01C)
The finals were also a bittersweet ending for the Year 6 team’s journey. Having missed the previous season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this was their last competition before graduation. As Year 6 Captain Song Yi (22S03H) expressed, “since this is our batch’s first and last NSG since Covid, [the finals] are both exciting and nostalgic”.
“[NSG] has filled me with a great sense of achievement and joy…and I am extremely proud of my teammates as they performed amazingly in their respective games,” Waverly added.
Praise agreed with this sentiment, emphasising that “though it was sad knowing it was our last ever squash session training together, the competition was a good way to end the JC experience”. With a chuckle, she added: “I really appreciate the extra time to focus on studies now!”
Coach Mr Allan Chang was immensely proud of the team, and thanked the players “for winning the championship again [and] retaining the title”. Raffles Press would like to congratulate the Squash girls for their well-deserved victory, and wishes them all the best for the next competitions to come!
Wu Jin Hui Waverly Kim (22S03F)
Joy Lim Wei Ting (22S03R)
Praise Lee Shi (22S06H)
Cheyenne Mah (22S03N)
Isabelle Koh En Qi (23A01C)