They may have been sole champions for 17 straight years, but Raffles Institution (RI) were challenged by upstarts River Valley High School (RVHS) yesterday at the girls' Schools National A Division badminton final.
RI successfully defended their title with a 3-1 victory at Bedok Sports Hall, but RVHS' spirited performance showed they could be a potential threat to RI, despite this being just their second year competing in the A Division.
"We fought really hard this year, I think our mentality and attitude changed - we were really enjoying the game," said RVHS captain Guo Susan, 19, who was playing in her first-ever final.
RI's Chong Fui Jin took the first singles match 21-17, 21-19 against Lee Shu En of RVHS. RI then won the first doubles match for a 2-0 lead.
RI then took the second doubles match for the winning point, before Susan Guo defeated RI's Marissa Ng 21-19, 19-21, 21-17 for RVHS's sole point.
RVHS teacher-in-charge Tan Kim Chuan attributed the school's good performances to a structured and disciplined training programme. The players' dedication was also a factor, as well as the benefit of a larger sports hall.
For RI, it was a case of dominance established again.
"Going into the match, we knew that RV was strong but we felt that if we stuck to our game plan, we could do it," said RI girls' captain Fui Jin, 17.
In the boys' final, defending champions Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) ensured there was no RI lockdown with a 3-1 win.
ACS(I)'s victory was sealed in the fourth match through Edwin Lim and Peck Ern-Wei, as the pair sealed a nerveless 21-19, 24-22 victory against RI's Donovan Mui and Jackie Tan.
It was the ACS(I) pair's first competitive outing. A delighted Ern-Wei said: "During training, there were some miscommunications, but we kept discussing about playing cohesively... and we played well together today."
This article was first published on May 22, 2014.
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