School sports

Squash: Graduating with a perfect record

RGS captain Nicole Tong (foreground) returning a shot to MGS' Carrie Tan at yesterday's Schools National B Division squash final. MGS lost 1-4 as RGS retained their crown.
RGS captain Nicole Tong (foreground) returning a shot to MGS' Carrie Tan at yesterday's Schools National B Division squash final. MGS lost 1-4 as RGS retained their crown.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

RGS' Sec 4 batch defeat old rivals MGS 4-1 to remain unbeaten in squash finals since 2014

They have won the Schools National squash championships as a batch every year since 2014, and Raffles Girls' School's (RGS) Secondary 4 players yesterday ensured they will graduate with their unbeaten streak intact after clinching the B Division title.

They beat Methodist Girls' School (MGS) 4-1 to retain their crown at the Kallang Squash Centre.

Christy Ko, one of three Secondary 4 players who featured in yesterday's final, believes the strength of the batch is thanks to a combination of hard work and luck. The 16-year-old and her cohort had also won the C Division title in Secondary 1 and 2 and the B Division crown last year in Secondary 3. She said: "(Back then) two of our seniors were in the national team, and this year we have juniors who are very good ... so it's all very lucky."

Raffles captain Nicole Tong, also a Secondary 4 student, said the win was all the more special because it marked their fourth straight year of success together.

"We really wanted this win," added the 15-year-old. "This was the toughest match by far; the line-up wasn't in our favour so it was quite nerve-wracking ...

"But we trained hard, so we believed in ourselves and in one another."

UNSHAKEABLE BOND

This was the toughest match by far; the line-up wasn't in our favour. But we trained hard, so we believed in ourselves and in one another.

NICOLE TONG, RGS squash captain, felt it was their team spirit that made all the difference.

She and team-mate Sneha Sivakumar made quick work of their opponents yesterday, winning their respective ties to give RGS a 2-0 lead.

Sneha beat MGS captain Valeree Soh 11-2, 11-2, 11-3 in the first tie, while Nicole romped to an 11-2, 11-2, 11-0 win over Carrie Tan.

Keertana Veerayah kept MGS' hopes of a comeback alive with her 11-5, 11-5, 11-8 victory over Christy.

But Ang Hwee En clinched the championship for RGS after beating Cao Yiyin 11-3, 11-5, 11-5.

Team-mate Ashley Fok then beat Janasis Ong 11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7 in the dead rubber.

MGS' Keertana revealed she had been nervous entering the match.

"There was a lot of pressure to win and (Christy) is one of my good friends," said the 15-year-old. "I'm glad I managed my nerves and focused on the game."

But there were no jitters from RGS' Hwee En, as she used to train with her opponent.

Asked how it felt to seal victory for RGS, the Secondary 3 student flashed a thumbs-up as she replied: "It feels good ... because (after my match) I realised our school won."

The MGS girls, third at last year's tournament, were upbeat despite the loss. Said captain Valeree: "We fought really hard this year and came up with new training drills to make it to the final."

Keertana, a Secondary 4 student, agreed. "From this loss, our juniors can also see what they need to improve on for next year," she said. "We may have lost, but we became a lot closer as a team."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2017, with the headline 'Graduating with a perfect record'. Print Edition | Subscribe