School sports: Hard work and team bonding key to SCGS shuttlers' perfect season as they clinch B Div North Zone title

SCGS first doubles shuttlers Cheng Sher-Mae (left) and Avril Yau (right) after scoring a point at the Badminton Girls’ B Div North Zone final on April 26, 2022. ST PHOTO: THADDEUS ANG

SINGAPORE - Singapore Chinese Girls’ School (SCGS) clinched the B Division North Zone girls’ badminton title with a 5-0 win over Xinmin Secondary School in the final on Tuesday (April 26), wrapping up a stellar season without dropping a single match. 

While hard work on the court played a key role in their success, their team spirit off it also helped them claim the zonal crown at Canberra Secondary School.

The SCGS shuttlers had planned bonding sessions after training where they would play team-building games such as dog and bone. 

This was particularly important for the team, who finished second last year, especially as the pandemic disrupted their training regimen and limited their interactions with one another.

They also made an effort to include the C Division players in those sessions to make sure the lower secondary students also assimilated well into the team.

Captain Avril Yau, 15, said: “It was really the team spirit that enabled us to inch towards the victory. Leading up to the NSG, our team really grew close to each other. 

“We encourage, motivate and comfort each other... and this bond was really important.

“During training, we went through a lot of physical sessions and, to be in this together, all of us felt very close to each other and (that) motivated us to work harder.”

SCGS started the final strongly as Isabelle Koh beat Jacintha Toh 21-11, 21-18 in the opening match.

The next match was a tougher one, with doubles pair Avril and Cheng Sher-Mae recording a 21-12, 20-22, 24-22 victory over Yolanda Thio and Phaedra Chong. 

In the crucial third match, Tricia Hu faced a tough start as she found herself 8-1 down against Anne Wong, but slowly clawed her way back to win 22-20.

Anne claimed the next game 21-19, but Tricia, 15, kept her cool to win the third game 21-17 and seal the title for SCGS.

Tricia, a Secondary 4 student, said: “I kept hitting into the net or out, so it was stressful and I made more mistakes. I just breathed in and out and told myself to calm down.”

SCGS’ Eleanor Chan and Mazel Ng then beat Verone Lim and Nicole Yim 21-11, 21-13, with Elisabeth Kam winning the final match against Rayanne Chua 21-7, 21-16.

SCGS badminton teacher-in-charge Maryanty Mohtar attributed the team’s title to their hard work, noting that some of them would put in an extra training session on Saturdays in the lead-up to the National School Games.

Although they lost, Xinmin vice-captain Verone, 16, was glad that her team made it to the final.

She said: “We trained very hard for this and we are thankful we can make it to the final even though we lost today.”

Captain Phaedra, 16, added: “Even though there were a lot of mistakes made, we knew that we trained hard every day, so we did our best.”

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