Tchoukball helps Edric to mature

Above: Edric Soong holds the championship trophy. Right: Farrer Park Primary's right winger Ashif Rahman, 11, tries to shoot at the frame against Beacon Primary during the final of the SPH Foundation National Primary Schools Tchoukball Championship.
Farrer Park Primary's right winger Ashif Rahman, 11, tries to shoot at the frame against Beacon Primary during the final of the SPH Foundation National Primary Schools Tchoukball Championship.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Edric Soong (centre) holds the championship trophy.
Edric Soong (centre) holds the championship trophy.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Edric Soong does not know his height or how much taller he has grown since it was last recorded at 1.33m. But the Primary 5 pupil, who is at least 1.70m tall, has learnt more about himself since joining Farrer Park Primary School's tchoukball team.

Despite towering over the other players in the team, he was a shadow of his current self when he first turned up for training at the start of this year.

He said: "I was always struggling and I felt extremely tired due to all the running, and I would just give up easily. But I've learnt a lot about endurance."

His coach Jeff Ang noted how he has matured, saying: "Resilience was like a new concept to him. Previously, he would cry and be unwilling to try.

"But now, he's both physically and mentally tougher."

Yesterday, as the captain, Edric led his team-mates to victory in the boys' competition at the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Foundation National Primary Schools Tchoukball Championships, a one-day competition featuring 20 schools. The hosts beat Beacon Primary 13-8 in the final.

Opponents struggled to catch Edric's powerful shots each time they rebounded off the netted frames. His team-mates joked that they are somewhat afraid of catching his rebounds during training sessions.

Shaik Mohamed Farook, a Primary 4 pupil, said: "It helps a lot because he is strong and he can score many points for us. Maybe he should teach us how to shoot."

Tchoukball was not Edric's first choice for a sport. He chose basketball when he joined the school this year after returning from Shanghai, where he lived for nine years.

But it took under a year for tchoukball to become less alien to him. Now, it is not just a co-curricular activity, but it is also his passion.

Edric said: "I'm happy to join something that I ended up being interested in. And I think I can contribute to this team."

Greendale Primary beat Junyuan Primary 9-7 on Tuesday to win the girls' category.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2016, with the headline 'Tchoukball helps Edric to mature'. Print Edition | Subscribe