Author: Raffles Press

Giant Leaps for Raffles at Rhythmic Gym Optionals

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Joyce Er (15A01A)

Photos by Teo Si-Yan (14S03Q)

Raffles Gymnastics’ competitors and supporters. Front row, left to right: Jolene Tan, Tan Min Ting, Megan Chong, Daphne Chia, Yan Zhixin, Lim Wannee, Cheryl Lee (reserve)

If you struggled with your NAPFA assessments earlier this week – and even if you didn’t – rhythmic gymnasts surely cut an impressive figure, with their effortless execution of feats of athletic and aesthetic mastery. Last Thursday, our rhythmic gymnastics team of six competitors, decked out in sequinned leotards, were dressed to impress at the Bishan Sports Hall. They did the school proud, bringing back a total of five silvers and three bronzes.

Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport with a performance element, making it a test of both gymnasts’ strength and agility as well as their elegance and aesthetics. Thursday’s optional routine category involved gymnasts performing an original routine, often choreographed by their coaches and set to upbeat tunes ranging from Oriental to Bollywood to pop. Their routines were scored based on the technical accuracy of execution as well as the difficulty of their skills; indeed, the D-score is often what makes or breaks a gymnast, though heavy penalties are dealt for mistakes like dropping one’s apparatus.

Lim Wannee in her starting pose for the hoop event

Gymnasts perform with the use of any of four apparatus, ball, hoop, clubs, or ribbons, at a time. In addition, gymnasts who put up a routine for all four apparatuses stand a chance at earning a medal in the Individual All Around event. Juggling coordination, balance, rhythm, flexibility, speed, strength, control, style, audience appeal, and – of course – their apparatus, it isn’t hard to see where the challenge lies.

Daphne Chia executing a back scale while rolling the ball along her arm

As anticipated, Thursday’s performances were technically and visually astounding, from the coruscating leotards – which can cost upwards of $400 apiece – to the dizzying succession of pirouettes to the mind-bending over-splits that gymnasts flawlessly executed.

Though there was certainly a spectacular range of ability on display, nobody was exempt from error regardless of experience. A fair number of clubs were dropped and balls were seen rolling out of the red boundary line. What was heartening, though, was the willingness of all spectators to cheer on competitors who had momentarily faltered, even if they were from rival schools. More than anything else, the competition was a celebration of the gymnasts’ passion and dedication for their sport.

Megan Chong’s split leap in the middle of her ball routine

Having pulled a muscle in her thigh less than a week before the competitions, Megan was on painkillers that day, which limited her movement. Nevertheless, the ex-national rhythmic gymnast remained undeterred and pulled off her ribbon and ball routines to place third for both events, displaying some remarkable flexibility along the way.

For competitors Jolene Tan, Lim Wannee and Yan Zhixin, the competition was their first and last, having only taken up the sport a year ago. Despite their relative inexperience, they put up commendable performances, dexterously manipulating their respective apparatuses throughout their routines while maintaining a cheerful disposition and finishing strong.

Jolene Tan rising from a kneeling position on her toes while spinning the hoop behind her

In particular, Jolene’s hoop routine impressed the judges, earning her the bronze with a score of 5.0, although her playful clubs routine set to ‘The Bare Necessities’ was thoroughly entertaining to watch and scored 4.42. Wannee scored 3.78 and 3.95 on her clubs and hoop routines respectively, while Zhixin’s ball routine earned a 4.38.

Yan Zhixin balancing in a Y-hold while holding the ball aloft

Said Zhixin of her brief gymnastics journey, “It’s been fun. I’m blessed to have a good coach and great batchmates to train with. [My performance] could have been better, but I’m still satisfied that I got the chance [to compete].”

Tan Min Ting competed in the clubs and ribbon events, and confidently performed a cheeky clubs routine, innovatively accentuating her music by tapping her clubs together for a percussion effect. With a score of 5.32, she narrowly missed the bronze, which instead went to CJC’s Narelle Lee. The captain of RI rhythmic gymnastics was all smiles, sharing Zhixin’s sentiments: “Considering almost everyone joined in J1, I think everyone did well, especially Jolene. I didn’t perform the best I could, but considering that I have a lot of commitments, I think I managed to balance them quite well.”

Daphne executing a side scale while twirling the hoop

As for Daphne Chia, the competition was not without accident, but her briskly-executed routines, unfalteringly daring throws, inhuman feats of flexibility and elaborate, spangled leotards left us quite literally starstruck, earning her all five silvers in the competition. After the day’s gruelling competition and the succession of four routines, she was beat by fellow national gymnast Tong Kah Mun, who swept all golds. She graciously acknowledged, “This year, it was quite an intense competition between myself and my teammates from the national team. I’m really glad that my teammates from Raffles did well, though we don’t train together.” Daphne will be representing Singapore in the upcoming Commonwealth Games 2014.

Raffles Girls’ Secondary School representative Dawne Chua Yun Xi also did Raffles proud by clinching golds in the ball and hoop events.



1st – Tong Kah Mun, Nanyang Junior College, 11.5 points

2nd – Chia Theresa Daphne Yun Shan, Raffles Institution (Junior College), 10.17 points

3rd – Jolene Tan Li Xuan, Raffles Institution (Junior College), 5.0 points


1st – Tong Kah Mun, Nanyang Junior College, 12.05 points

2nd – Chia Theresa Daphne Yun Shan, Raffles Institution (Junior College), 11.55 points

3rd – Megan Chong, Raffles Institution (Junior College), 4.67 points


1st – Tong Kah Mun, Nanyang Junior College, 11.3 points

2nd – Chia Theresa Daphne Yun Shan, Raffles Institution (Junior College), 11.17 points

3rd – Narelle Lee Salikin, Catholic Junior College, 5.5 points


1st – Tong Kah Mun, Nanyang Junior College, 12.92 points

2nd – Chia Theresa Daphne Yun Shan, Raffles Institution (Junior College), 11.17 points

3rd – Megan Chong, Raffles Institution (Junior College), 6.33 points

Individual All Around

1st – Tong Kah Mun, Nanyang Junior College, 47.77 points

2nd – Chia Theresa Daphne Yun Shan, Raffles Institution (Junior College), 44.06 points

3rd – Narelle Lee Salikin, Catholic Junior College, 20.05 points

Judo Team Clinches Silver for Girls and Championship Title for Boys

Reading Time: 5 minutes

By William Hoo (15A01E)

A few weeks back, RI’s Judo A Division team headed down to Hougang Seconday school for the National Schools Judo Championship. After defeating Nanyang Junior College in the semi-finals, our Judo boys and girls were set to face off against one of our fiercest rivals, Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) in the team finals. Despite having faced HCI in previous years of the competition, the team was well-prepared and confident for this encounter in the finals, having trained extensively in the months leading up to the National Schools Championship. This year’s team finals indeed showed that the Gentle Way did not necessarily mean a gentle fight.

The atmosphere as both schools got ready for the team final was tense and fierce, with both judo teams performing their club cheers with pride. The format of the team event consists of five bouts played between opponents, with one member from each weight category. Each bouts lasts for three minutes, during which players aim to score an ippon. The victor of the event is determined by winning three out of five bouts. This did indeed set the stage for a suspenseful and exciting match for both the A Div boys and girls teams.


The first match was between the A Division girls of RI and HCI.

The line-up for RI’s A Division girls by weight category consisted of Cheong Hui Shyuan (-48kg), Amanda Chia (-52kg), Tania Forichon (-57kg), Joey low (-63kg) and Joyce lee (+63kg).

The opening match was easily won by Huishyuan, catching her opponent off guard while they were fighting for control over each other and ending the bout with several nicely-timed foot sweeps.

The second bout witnessed Amanda fighting valiantly, with her best effort. Both players were locked down gripping each other, but her opponent attempted a throw and managed to bring Amanda down to the floor. Her opponent pinned her down, and in spite of her best efforts at trying to bridge her opponent over, Amanda lost the second bout through groundwork.

With the current score even at 1-1, the third bout started with both Tania and her opponent playing aggressively, vying for a hold on each other. While there were a few close calls where Tania was almost thrown by her opponent, or pinned down after being brought to the floor, she remained composed and was able to parry each attempt. After a stalemate in groundwork, the referee resumed the bout anew at the centre of the arena. Tania seized the opportunity as her opponent went into defensive play, and threw her swiftly with a back throw, winning the bout for the team.

The fourth bout saw Joey putting up a strong fight against her opponent, with plenty of attempts by both parties to throw each other. Scores were awarded to both of them as the bout progressed. However, as the bout dragged on, Joey and her opponent engaged in a lot of intensive groundwork, each trying to pin down the other. Despite some considerable effort and spirit on her part, Joey narrowly lost to her opponent by points at the end of the bout.

The last bout of the A Div girls team event was a nail-biting one as it was the last deciding bout for both schools in order to clinch the championship. Supporters from both Judo clubs rallied in support of their judokas.

The match started in a flurry of aggression, with both Joyce and her opponent engaged in heavy groundwork – resisting each other while simultaneously seeking to pin the other down. However, Joyce was unfortunately caught off guard at a key moment, resulting in her getting pinned down by her opponent. Although Joyce tried her best to break free of the hold and bridge her opponent over, she was unable to do so and lost the bout.

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RI’s A-Division Judo Girls Team

Hence, with a score line of 2-3, RI’s A Div judo girls conceded victory to HCI for the team finals, coming in second and winning the Silver title for the school. Regardless, their effort was no less laudable and their team spirit really showed through with the immense support their batchmates provided throughout all their trainings together.


The next match for the day was the A Division boys’ team finals, which showcased a spectacular display of skill from both schools.

The line-up for RI’s A DIv boys by weight category consisted of Davis Yep Swee Kiat (-60kg), Ong Jia Xiang (-66kg), Julius Sander Nugroho (-73kg), Henry Neo Jin Hong (-81kg) and Wei Yong Ji (+81kg).

The first bout for the A Div boys saw Davis being pitted against his counterpart in the Feather weight category. Catching his opponent off guard, Davis managed to counter his opponent and was awarded a score. His opponent eventually went on to concede two fouls through defensive play. Davis won his bout by points at the end of three minutes.

Jia Xiang played the second bout, with both players fighting each other for dominion over the other and grappling to throw each other. Unfortunately, while Jia Xiang played really well, he was brought down to the ground and subsequently pinned down, losing the bout.

With the score at an equal 1-1, Julius entered the third bout, facing up against HCI’s captain. The first point was awarded to Julius as his opponent conceded a foul for overly-defensive play. However, Julius was penalised shortly after for the same reason. The next point of the bout was awarded to Julius for a small throw, but the score was quickly equalised when his opponent threw him for the same score later on in the bout. With time running out, Julius caught his opponent off guard with a massive throw, scoring a major point. The bout was thought to have been won by Julius when in the final five seconds of the bout, HCI’s captain threw Julius for a major point that sealed a win for HCI.

The fourth bout featured RI’s Judo team captain, Henry who took an early lead with a foot sweep early on in the bout. He then went on to secure a win for the team by throwing his opponent, getting a full ippon.

Once again, the A DIv boys’ team finals proved to be exciting and nerve-wracking as well, with the score being equalised at 2-2 for both RI and HCI. The last bout would again be the deciding factor for the championship.

The last bout of the A Div boys’ team finals was nail biting from start to finish, as supporters from both RI and HCI yelled words of encouragement to both players. The early start of the bout saw Yongji conceding a small point. This was slightly demoralizing, but Yongji rose to the occasion, turning the bout around by throwing his opponent and following up with a pin. The hall of Hougang Secondary School was filled by cheers all around as Yongji secured the win and the championship title.

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RI’s A-Division Judo Boys Team

Hence, with a score line of 3-2, and after an intense showing by both RI and HCI, our A Divison judo boys brought home the championship title for RI.

The Raffles Judo family

The good showing of RI’s Judo A Div team was the result of months of training and encouragement from their coaches, Mr Tan and Mr Low, as well as the teachers, Mr Kok, Mr Eng and others.

Raffles Press would like to congratulate the A Div boys and girls judo team for their stellar performance in the National Schools Judo Championships. Here’s wishing all sports CCAs the best of luck in the upcoming 2014 season.

What Prometheus Taught Us About Learning

Reading Time: 7 minutes

By Caleb Chiam (14S06O)

Back when Mrs Lim was still the Principal and I was a lanky boy of dubious athleticism (still am actually) in Secondary Two, there was an assembly talk Mrs Lim gave that I dwell on every now and then. I didn’t expect it to stick with me, given that my attention was divided between her (in retrospect, very wise) words and a particularly riveting Math worksheet of a topic I cannot quite recall.

Continue reading “What Prometheus Taught Us About Learning”

Acta non verba: One Day Without Shoes

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Anonymous Y6


One year ago, along with many of my fellow batch mates in the class of 2014, I went one day without shoes around campus, perceiving that we were doing something good for the world. While I didn’t actually donate any of my shoes to the donation drive, I thought that the entire project was a worthy and noble act that would save the unfortunate communities who had no access to good shoes.

One year later, I realised that I was sorely mistaken. What we were doing was not benefitting communities – it was potentially destroying them instead.

Continue reading “Acta non verba: One Day Without Shoes”

Water Polo Girls Maintain Gold with 10-1 Victory over TJC

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Yeo Jia Qi (15S03H) and Teo Kai Wen (15S03H)

Having defeated Temasek Junior College (TJC) 7-2 in the preliminary stage of competition, RI’s A Div water polo girls no doubt entered Thursday’s final against the very same opponents with some degree of confidence.

Back-and-forth cheering between the TJC supporters and RI councillors, as well as some prospective Council nominees, preceded the start of the match at MOE Co-Curricular Activities Branch. While the TJC supporters came armed with plastic clappers, the banners hung at the RI end of the pool and the drum brought along by CCAD for coordinating cheers ensured that our supporters were not outclassed.

RI Councillors putting up support banners before the match

The match started somewhat slowly, with both goalkeepers saving long shots across the pool, but soon gained speed. After a disallowed goal, RI managed to keep the ball in TJC’s half for a full minute, and the pressure produced results when Richelle Ang (#8) finally managed to send the ball past the goalkeeper. This energised the RI team, which continued to dominate possession and keep the ball in the Temasek half. The second goal came two minutes later in dramatic fashion when a shot on target hit the top of the Temasek cage, bounced back and was palmed past the TJC goalkeeper by Clarinda Tan (#6), triggering cheers of “Raffles Dynamite” from the councillors. Later, RI coach Mr Lim Yao Xiang would remark that the girls displayed such confidence that all that remained for him was to “take a back seat and let them play their own game”.

The second goal

In the second quarter, RI seized possession and made it 3-0 20 seconds in. This time round, TJC put up a more resolute defence and the fourth goal only came 3 minutes later from a remarkable shot over the entire Temasek defence line. Despite a stout defence, Temasek still could not get the ball out of their half. More drama ensued after a RI was awarded a penalty shot, which unfortunately sailed over the cage. Moments later, RI substituted four players, increasing the speed of the game, and Rachel Lee (#12), one of the four new players, immediately found her mark as she scored a shot over three Temasek defenders.

Incredible defending by goalkeepers Joanna Chue (#1) and Stephanie Sim (#13), as well as two lightning shots by Neo Serhan (#7) in rapid succession, ensured RI led by a margin of 7-0 at halftime, giving the councillors good reason to put up an intimidating display of “Rafblood” and “Ichiban” cheers.

In the second half, Temasek ramped up the pressure but failed to capitalise on the RI defence, being repeatedly frustrated by the time limit of 30 seconds they had to attack the opposing goal. The TJC goalkeeper, repeatedly shouting a ten-second countdown across the pool to encourage her team members, made quite a few excellent saves, and the pace of scoring slowed. Nethania Low (#10) and Rachel Lee (#12) nonetheless managed to score one more goal each, making it 9-0 before the final quarter.

RI scores their 9th goal against TJC

The final quarter commenced with a spate of fouls and determined marking of RI players by their Temasek opponents. Determined to stop conceding goals, TJC further intensified the pressure on RI forwards, with 3 defenders challenging one RI player holding the ball on more than one occasion. Rising to the occasion, RI mounted a comprehensive attack on the Temasek defence, resorting to long passes with unerring accuracy over TJC players, and Clarinda Tan (#6) of the RI team finally made it 10-0 before Richelle Ang (#8) found her shot saved twice. In the nerve-wracking last minute of the game, Temasek finally found the RI cage with a long shot from the halfway line, but subsequent attempts on goal were stymied and the final ended with raucous cheering from the RI supporters.

RI supporters and the team sing the Institution Anthem after the match

After the match, coach Mr Lim Yao Xiang admitted that they “didn’t expect to win by so much”, but also remarked that the girls “fully deserved” their win because “they trained really hard and even throughout last year’s promos they did not stop training on their own just to improve”. He also said that the team was one of the “most united teams [he had] coached so far” and that their “chemistry on land [was] really reflected in the pool”, which explained their fitting win.

They put in a lot of effort more than the competition. Every holiday they will ask whether they can come back to school for extra training, so I’m the one that needs to say ‘give me a rest’, so that says a lot.

On Thursday mornings they start swimming at 6am at the RI Hong Leong pool in the cold, in the dark for an hour. That’s something that no one actually knows [so] they deserve every bit of their victory.

Raffles Press would like to congratulate the A Div Girls’ water polo team on defending their National Champions title for the 8th year running, and wishes all sports CCAs well in their matches and games to come.