From beginners to winners

From beginners to winners
Dunman Secondary School basketball coach Danny Wong, a mathematics and physical education teacher, with the girls' basketball team.

SINGAPORE - When Danny Wong returned to Dunman Secondary School after graduating from the National Institute of Education in 2006, he was handed a daunting task.

The mathematics and physical education teacher, who had taught at the Tampines-based school while at the NIE as part of his curriculum, was asked by a colleague to help set up a girls' basketball team.

He had no coaching badges and could only rely on his playing experience when he was a schoolboy, but Wong agreed.

"I didn't expect to be involved with basketball when I came here," said the 35-year-old, who played the sport from secondary school to university. To make the transition to coach, Wong turned to books and online videos.

Said Wong: "The teacher-in-charge of the boys' team at the time (Tan Jing Yang) was a close friend of mine and he asked me to set up the girls' team with him.

"We didn't have a lot of resources back then and, for the first few years, it was quite tough to really stand out from the pool of very good basketball schools."

After a series of top-four finishes in the East Zone competition, the big breakthrough came when Wong guided his first batch of girls to the B Division title in 2009.

It was Dunman's first basketball title.

It was the start of a golden run, as Dunman's girls' teams went on to clinch four more titles in the C and B Divisions, with Wong involved in three of them.

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