ST Joseph's Institution (SJI), which finished outside the top two last year for the first time since 1991 in the Schools National C Division canoeing competition, returned to the top yesterday at Bedok Reservoir, ahead of Gan Eng Seng School.
Between 1991 and 2012, SJI won 14 titles and eight runners-up medals. But their run of success came to an end last year when they finished third behind Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) and champions Anglo-Chinese School (Independent).
Said coach Huang Chun Jian: "The canoeists wanted to make up for last year's disappointment, and that got them fired up.
"They learnt from the team's mistakes last year and addressed the issues, so I am satisfied with their performances."
Huang also paid tribute to the attitudes of his charges.
"The C Division team had no canoeing background before they entered SJI, but they were eager to learn and to challenge themselves to succeed, with the support of the school and parents," he said.
In the A Division, HCI maintained their stranglehold on the boys' and girls' titles, but were made to sweat for them by National Junior College (NJC).
NJC's boys' team won six golds compared to HCI's four in the individual events, but ultimately lost out in the overall scores. Meanwhile, the HCI girls' team claimed four golds to stave off NJC's challenge.
Elsewhere, the Temasek Secondary School (TSS) B Division girls' team managed to retain their title, while Crescent Girls' School were crowned the new C Division champions, ahead of TSS.
ACS(I) claimed the B Division boys' title from HCI.
This article was published on April 11 in The Straits Times.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.