Foundation vital to clean sweep by ACS(I)

Clockwise from left: The ACS(I) C Division rugby team after defeating St Andrew's Secondary School 22-17 last month; the tennis team after winning the A Division title in May; the C Division cricketers after their victory in July; and the school's sw
The ACS(I) C Division rugby team after defeating St Andrew's Secondary School 22-17 last month (above); the tennis team after winning the A Division title in May; the C Division cricketers after their victory in July; and the school's swimmers after completing a clean sweep of all three divisions in April.ST FILE PHOTO
Clockwise from left: The ACS(I) C Division rugby team after defeating St Andrew's Secondary School 22-17 last month; the tennis team after winning the A Division title in May; the C Division cricketers after their victory in July; and the school's sw
The ACS(I) C Division rugby team after defeating St Andrew's Secondary School 22-17 last month; the tennis team after winning the A Division title in May (above); the C Division cricketers after their victory in July; and the school's swimmers after completing a clean sweep of all three divisions in April.ST FILE PHOTO
Clockwise from left: The ACS(I) C Division rugby team after defeating St Andrew's Secondary School 22-17 last month; the tennis team after winning the A Division title in May; the C Division cricketers after their victory in July; and the school's sw
The ACS(I) C Division rugby team after defeating St Andrew's Secondary School 22-17 last month; the tennis team after winning the A Division title in May; the C Division cricketers after their victory in July (above); and the school's swimmers after completing a clean sweep of all three divisions in April.ST FILE PHOTO
Clockwise from left: The ACS(I) C Division rugby team after defeating St Andrew's Secondary School 22-17 last month; the tennis team after winning the A Division title in May; the C Division cricketers after their victory in July; and the school's sw
The ACS(I) C Division rugby team after defeating St Andrew's Secondary School 22-17 last month; the tennis team after winning the A Division title in May; the C Division cricketers after their victory in July; and the school's swimmers after completing a clean sweep of all three divisions in April (above).ST FILE PHOTO

Emphasis on all-round discipline and rapport created all-division dominance in four sports

To win all three school sports division of any discipline is a triumph worth celebrating.

But Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) experienced that jubilation four times over when it completed the grand slam of A, B and C Division crowns in four sports - cricket, rugby, swimming and tennis - at this year's Schools National Games.

Despite the avalanche of trophies, unprecedented in the school's history, students and coaches of the respective sports insisted the quadruple grand slam was never a main priority although it was a "bonus" for them.

Cricket coach Sarika Prasad had told The Straits Times last month that his charges' treble was his best achievement since he began training the school in 1997. But the 57-year-old is keen to see further progress in his players.

He said: "I want to see continuous improvement from my players, rather than (just the) emphasis on winning.

PRIDE IN REPRESENTATION

When you play for your school there is extra pressure to come up with the goods because you can't let anyone down - that's what sets the schools competition apart. It's a privilege to play for our school.

WILL ANGKAWIDJAJA, ACS(I) tennis captain, on playing tennis at the schools competitions.

"Of course everyone wants to win, but it's more important that we focus on the process.

"It's more important that the boys focus on the execution of the game plan and on each step of that process, rather than think too far ahead.

"These plans are (a way of preparing for a victory) and if we follow them without getting distracted, then there's a chance of succeeding."

 

Apart from following the game plan, rugby coach Adrian Chong believes his team's success is due to good discipline and the support of parents and alumni who returned as volunteer coaches.

This year, the rugby team won its third grand slam since the International Baccalaureate programme was introduced to the school in 2006, allowing it to compete in the A Division.

Emphasising the importance of discipline, Chong said: "Without it, we could not have gone far.

"It's the first thing we instil with regard to time management, nutrition and looking after their bodies well."

This discipline extends well beyond the confines of the rugby pitch, and into the classroom, added the 49-year-old.

Revealing that the "good rapport" between teachers and coaches helps in ensuring that students are performing well, both on and off the field, Chong said: "If a boy's behaviour is not good or he is behind on his homework, this open communication ensures that he gets the help he needs to catch up on his studies."

ACS(I)'s swimmers and tennis players successfully defended their treble this year. Swim captain Kevin Ong admitted he had been worried his team-mates would "take it for granted that (they) would win".

The 18-year-old said: "Swimming is also quite a decentralised sport, as all of us train separately at different clubs. But what really brings us together is the fact that we're all competing for ACS(I)."

Tennis captain Will Angkawidjaja, also 18, agreed, adding: "Tennis may be an individual sport, but when you play for your school there is extra pressure to come up with the goods because you can't let anyone down - that's what sets the schools competition apart. It's a privilege to play for our school."

The student-athletes of the four sports know they will be entering next year's competition with a target on their backs.

But far from riding on the success of this year, the boys are aware that no one can stay at the top forever.

Said cricket captain Anish Srinivasan: "A grand slam is memorable and it will definitely feel good to win it again, but a bit of luck is required along the way as well.

"We are not invincible. What matters is we are motivated to give our best."

ACS(I)'s director of health, physical education and recreation, Chan Chee Wei, added: "Winning is great, but for every child we want them to realise that beyond winning, true success is when one understands the humility in victory, the grace in defeat and the support received from the community."

•Additional reporting by Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2016, with the headline 'Foundation vital to clean sweep by ACS(I)'. Print Edition | Subscribe