HCI edge NJC by a single point to retain canoe title

Hwa Chong Institution (HCI)'s eighth-straight A Division boys' canoeing title was probably the most nerve-racking, after they narrowly held off National Junior College (NJC) by the slenderest of margins yesterday.

After 19 races at the MacRitchie Reservoir, it came down to the final event - the K2-500m race, in which HCI needed a third- and sixth-placed finish to claim the overall championship.

NJC's Jack Smith and Julian Seow won the race, but HCI's pairings of Joel Lim and Low Shi Ming, and Sai Shein Htet and Gerald Wong, finished third and sixth respectively.

HCI finished top with 71 points, one point ahead of NJC, while Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) were third on 35 points.

Preserving their winning streak was a huge relief, said HCI boys' captain Joshua Low.

The 17-year-old added: "The moment that race ended, all the HCI team members on the shore just started hugging one another and screaming very loudly.

"We weren't as confident of winning this time, because our opponents are stronger. We had predicted the competition would be very stiff."

Unlike last year, HCI could not achieve an A Division double. Its girls' team finished in third spot with 13 points, behind Anglo- Chinese Junior College (55) and NJC (44).

HCI's girls captain Steffi Quah, 18, was nevertheless proud of her team-mates' effort. She said: "I didn't even expect we would get third, since we had a severe shortage of girls in our team this year."

In the B Division, St Joseph's Institution (SJI) clinched back-to-back titles in the boys' competition with 74 points, ahead of HCI (61) and ACS(I) (50). NJC took home the girls' title with 41 points, defeating Damai Secondary School (36) and Gan Eng Seng School (GESS) on 26.

SJI's team bagged the C Division boys' crown with 60 points, beating ACS(I) (55) and HCI (45). GESS won the girls event with 43 points, edging out NJC (42) and Damai (28).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2017, with the headline 'HCI edge NJC by a single point to retain canoe title'. Subscribe