School sports: Injured Ryan feted after ACS(I) polo boys seal hat-trick

Above: Ryan Teo is all smiles, with his pain forgotten after receiving his gold medal, as schoolmates wheel him away. He broke his leg in a freak accident in school. Left: Vicknessh Mathiwanen readying for a long pass forward to an ACS(I) team-mate.
Vicknessh Mathiwanen readying for a long pass forward to an ACS(I) team-mate. The team controlled the final throughout and were worthy winners. ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

One by one, the triumphant Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) water polo boys went up to receive their gold medals after a convincing 9-1 win over Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) in the Schools National C Division water polo final.

That secured their third successive divisional title at the Physical Education & Sports Education Branch yesterday.

However, the loudest cheers were reserved for Ryan Teo. Sporting a bright green cast on his left leg, the Secondary 2 student got up from his wheelchair and hobbled his way forward on crutches to receive his medal.

Despite playing a grand total of zero minutes in this year's tournament, the driver's contributions in winning the title last year were not forgotten. Captain Brandon Tan said: "Throughout the whole journey in the competition, Ryan has been with us always.

"He has shown the team a lot of support in whatever way he can and we truly appreciate it - be it whether he comes down for our training sessions or attends our matches."


Ryan Teo is all smiles, with his pain forgotten after receiving his gold medal, as schoolmates wheel him away. He broke his leg in a freak accident in school. ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

Team-mate Vicknessh Mathiwanen, who netted a game-high three goals, also added: "This victory, in a small way, is a tribute to him as a team-mate and friend."

Ryan, 14, broke his left tibia in a freak accident a day before the C Division competition began last month. He was in school when he heard a "pop" sound in his leg after he turned around to greet a friend.

Despite the setback, he was included in the team owing to his dedication to the sport. Ryan said: "I'm very grateful to my coach for still letting me be a part of the team.

"Even though I was quite disappointed about not being able to play, the least I could do is show the team my support - I'm proud of them."

ACS(I), who beat HCI 9-4 in the preliminary round, were aggressive from the get-go in the final, leading 3-1 after the first period of six minutes as HCI struggled to keep up.

The former continued to stretch their advantage in the second (5-1) and third (6-1) period before ending 9-1 victors. ACS(I) were more adventurous going forward when they played long diagonal passes and also remained tight at the back, denying HCI the chance to attack.

HCI coach Lau Se Wai said: "ACS(I) were just better than us and were one level up. We did all we could and tried our best but ACS(I) were really relentless."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2016, with the headline 'Injured Ryan feted after ACS(I) polo boys seal hat-trick'. Print Edition | Subscribe