School sports

School sports: Late scares but RI win double again

VIDEO: NICHOLAS DE SILVA

The scoreboard at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall read 9-0 in River Valley High School's favour during the first game of the deciding match for the Schools National A Division girls' badminton championship yesterday.

With the best-of-five tie at 2-2, the boisterous Rafflesian crowd grew increasingly silent with each point Hannah Lim conceded.

Even though the contest was a repeat of last year's final, which Raffles Institution won 3-1, River Valley appeared on the verge of turning the tables on the defending champions.

Lee Si Min then led 11-4 before Hannah began an amazing comeback. She clawed her way back point by point with clever net play, levelling at 11-11, before eventually edging out Si Min 21-18.

She then breezed through the second game 21-3 to earn RI their second consecutive title.

The 19-year-old told The Straits Times: "As a player, I take a bit of time to warm up. After the 11-point mark, I kind of knew what strategy to use. I realised that I had to change the rhythm of play to gain better control of the court.

"I am extremely relieved and glad that I did not disappoint my team-mates who supported me throughout the match and that after all our hard work, we managed to clinch the title."

The Raffles Institution girls surrounding match winner Hannah Lim (facing camera, in white) after her victory sealed the A Division title at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall.
The Raffles Institution girls surrounding match winner Hannah Lim (facing camera, in white) after her victory sealed the A Division title at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

A disappointed Si Min admitted that she was caught out cold by Hannah's comeback. "I thought I had a big lead and it would be hard for her to catch up," said the River Valley captain. "I felt I led my team down."

RI captain Lim Boon Wen acknowledged that this year's competition was much tougher. The 18-year-old said: "It was more nerve-racking for us (this year) as we had to wait for the last singles to be played before knowing whether we won".

In the boys' final, RI saw off an Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) comeback to eke out a 3-2 victory, earning the school the double.

RI had led 2-0 before ACS(I) levelled the scores. RI boys' captain Everard Ong encouraged his juniors to continue the school's legacy in next year's tournament.

The 18-year-old said: "I hope they continue to work hard for the sport they love. Do their best... Achieve the same feat as this year and continue to be double champions."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2017, with the headline 'Late scares but RI win double again'. Print Edition | Subscribe