School sports: Singapore Sports School sweeps four divisional badminton titles

WINNING three titles on any given day would have been impressive for any school. However, the Singapore Sports School (SSP) was not satisfied with just a hat-trick of titles.

Despite having wrapped up the Schools National badminton championships B and C Division girls' crowns and the C Division boys' title earlier in the day, there was still the B boys crown to battle for.

Victory would complete a historic sweep of all four divisions the school is featured in.

It was no wonder that the school's entire badminton team crowded around Court 3 at the Jurong East Sports and Cultural Centre - and erupted in a loud roar when teammates Darryl Sim clinched the all-important victory against Bowen Secondary School's (BWSS) Hazim Zambri to end a perfect season.

Victory against Bowen was all the more satisfying as the two teams had previously met in the North Zone finals where BWSS triumphed 3-2.

Yesterday's fixture proved no different the match once again went to the wire.

SSP had rushed to a 2-0 lead after Lee Wei Hong and the doubles pair of Abel Tan and Royston Loh made short work of their opponents. However, BWSS drew level with wins by Teh Jia Hong and doubles pair Frederic Cheng and Shawn Foo.

The final face-off between SSP's Darryl and BWSS's Hazim was made all the more dramatic given that all the other matches had ended, prompting all eyes to be focused on the tense match.

As fate would have it, the duo had previously battled it out for the decider in last month's zonal finals. Back then, Hazim came up tops.

"That (match) really woke me up," said Darryl. "I went back to reflect on my game with my coach and my dad to try and come back stronger."

Once the final match commenced, long and fierce rallies ensued. Cheers greeted every point in a game where any mistake proved costly.

Eventually, Darryl kept composed to secure a 21-16, 21-16 victory, and history.

Said SSP principal, Tan Teck Hock: "It is expected of the team to perform their best. Winning is just a bonus."

SSP's elation were best expressed by their B Division captain, Crystal Wong.

"I feel happy because this is the first time all our divisions have won first," said the 16-year old, who also played in a close match against SCGS's Nicolette Tan.