On the 10th of April, the Hwa Chong Canoeing Team participated in the National Schools‘Canoeing Championships, where the A Division Boys and Girls team sought to defend their title. NJC was the closest competitor, having won the Girls’ title for 11 consecutive years from 2002-2012. NJC had also amassed many experienced and strong paddlers in the recent years. The girls’ team in particular seemed outgunned, as NJC had 9 female experienced paddlers, with 5 to 6 years of experience under their belts. In contrast, our competing team had only 4 experienced paddlers, but we were bolstered by a strong homegrown core of paddlers who only took up canoeing in JC1.
A Division Girls K4 1000/500m
Our K4 team consisted of 2 newcomers, Heather Low (13S76) and Tan Hui Yi (13S6G), who had no experience in the sport. The team also includes 2 JC1 paddlers, Alicia Phee (14S72) and Sherri Lim (14S6F). We were matched against an experienced NJC K4 team, as well as a strong SAJC K4 team. Nevertheless, our girls fought hard and clinched a third placing in both the 1000m and 500m distance.
Girls: Point tally: HCI 8, NJC 14
A Division Women K1 1000m
The WK1 race signaled the start of the finals on Thursday. Our paddlers, Tabitha Chong (13S76) and Natasha Charmaine Manawadu (13S76), were eager to start the day off well. They were up against their long time NJC rivals, Claire Lee and Tammy Lim. It was a close race. However, Tabitha and Natasha held out, placing 1st and 2nd respectively.
Girls: Point tally: HCI 20, NJC 21
A Division Men C1 1000m
The first men’s race of the day was the Canoe Single (C1) where paddlers only paddle on one side of the boat over a distance of 1000m.
Our finalists, Chan Qing Zhou and Chan Jun Yang, both from 13S6Q were up against NJC’s Chong Koi Kiat. It was a neck-to-neck race, with Qing Zhou finishing 1st, edging out Koi Kiat in the last 100m. Jun Yang followed closely behind, achieving a podium finish.
Boys: Point tally: HCI 11, NJC 5
A Division Men K1 1000m
The Men’s C1 race was followed closely by the Men’s K1 1000m event.
Two of our paddlers, Isaac Ong from 14A14 and Yeo Kim Hwang from 13S73 competed against two highly experienced paddlers from NJC, Rueven and Jia Jun, who managed to open up a big lead in the first 500m. Despite Isaac’s best efforts to close the gap between him and the NJC paddlers, NJC obtained a 1-2 finish in this event, followed closely by Isaac who finished 3rd.
Kim Hwang, a newcomer with no prior experience in canoeing, held out in a field of experienced paddlers, many of whom have paddle for 5-6 years, and managed to will himself to a 5th place finish.
Boys: Point tally: HCI 17 , NJC 17
A Division Men K4 1000m
Going into the race, both teams were neck-to-neck in the points tally. This was certain ly a crucial event. Our K4 team comprising Darren Low Zhen Wei (13S6D), Kieran Jamie Pillai (13S79), Bram Lim Song Jie (14S7B) and Ng Qi Yuan (14S69) executed a flawless performance, racing clear of the rest of the competition to achieve a 1st place finish.
Boys: Point tally: HCI 24, NJC 22
A Division Girls K2 1000m
Our boats, comprising of Loh Xin Lin (13S77)/ Zhang Tian Jiao (13S67) and Brenda Lim (14S6D)/Tabitha Chong(13S76), were up against strong and co-ordinated NJC boats. The race was fought till the last 200m, when the HC K2s pulled away and came in 1st and 2nd respectively.
Girls: Point Tally: NJC 27, HCI: 32
A Division Men C2 1000m
The following event was the Men’s C2 1000m event.
Our JC1 pair of Lek Hong (14S6B) and Justin Lee Zheng Ying (14S6H) delivered in the race, securing the gold medal position. The JC2 pair of Delwyn Goh Jing Yi (13S6G) and newcomer Park Seong Jin(13S6Q) managed to achieve a commendable 4th position.
Boys: Point tally: HCI 34, NJC 27
A Division Men K2 1000m
The men’s K2 1000m event was once again a very tight race with extremely fierce competition from both NJC boats. However, our finalists comprising of Glenn Chia Jin Wee (13S6D) and Tan Jia Jie (14S6E) along with the JC1 crew of Glenn Tan Jun Kai (14A16) and Li Chen YI (14S7G) were pumped up for the fight.
The first NJC boat comprising of Nicholas Ho and John Lim pulled ahead, and, despite the best efforts of Glenn Chia and Jia Jie, they won the gold. Glenn and Jia Jie followed behind to secure the 2nd position, ahead of the 2nd NJC boat.
Our JC1 pair finished in a commendable 4th place .
Boy: Point tally: HCI 42, NJC 38
Going into the break, our boys team leads NJC by a slender margin of only 4 points while our girls lead by only 5 points. It was certainly turning out to be a hotly contested affair.
A Division Women K1 500m
The first event after the break was the Women’s K1 500m.
Our paddlers, Lee Hwei Xin (13S6H) and Brenda Lim (14S6D) were up against formidable opponents, Lim Jing Wei and Tammy Lim from NJC. Nevertheless, Lee Hwei Xin clinched 1st place, with Lim Jing Wei and Tammy Lim just behind her. JC1 Brenda Lim placed a respectable 4th.
Girls: Point tally: NJC 36, HCI 42
A Division Men C1 500m
The first boys event after the break was the Men’s C1 500m event, where we were represented by Chan Qing Zhou and Lek Hong, who once again pitted themselves against NJC’s Koi Kiat. It was a hotly contested race with both Qing Zhou and Koi Kiat fighting for the gold. However, Koi Kiat managed to pull ahead, edging out Qing Zhou who claimed the silver.
Lek Hong, the only JC1 in the final, placed a respectable 4th.
Boys: Point tally: HCI 50 , NJC45
A Division Men K1 500m
The boys were represented by Isaac Ong and Glenn Tan in this race.The gold and silver medallists from the 1000m race, Rueven and Jia Jun, took the lead from the start, obtaining a 1-2 finish again. Isaac finished third in this race.
In the final charge to the finish line,Glenn Tan surged up from last to the 4th position, narrowly winning his competitor in 5th place by the tip of his boat.
Boys: Point tally: HCI 57, NJC 57
A Division Men C2 500m
Going into this race, both teams were once again neck-to-neck points-wise.
It was up to our JC2 pair of Joel Lee (13S70) and Chan Junyang, and our J1 pair of Nesman Ng Xiang Xin (14S74) and Cheong Kai Lun (14S63).
Joel and Junyang raced to an early lead and held on, finishing 1st.Kai Lun and Nesman Ng defied all expectations, finishing closely behind Joel and Junyang in 2nd place.
Boys: Point Tally: HCI 69, NJC 60
A Division Women K1 500m
HC paddlers Natasha Charmaine and Lee Hwei Xin were up against their formidable NJC opponents, Lim Jing Wei and Claire Lee. The race was a close one. However, Jing Wei executed a powerful last charge, edging Natasha and Hwei Xin out to clinch 1st place. Natasha and Hwei Xin obtained a 2nd and 4th placing respectively.
Girls: Point tally: HCI 50, NJC 47
A Division Men K4 500m
Our K4 crew, the same crew as in the 1000m race, were hoping to claim another victory.
However, despite their best efforts, they were unable to overcome the NJC boat, achieving a respectable 2nd place
Boys: Point Tally: HCI 74, NJC 67
A Division Women K2 500m
This was the last event for the girls’ team and the title-deciding race. Our HC K2 team comprising Loh Xin Lin and Zhang Tian Jiao as well as Svena Yu (13S61) and Shari Huang (14S6D) were against the NJC K2 comprising Jamie Lian and Tan Xiao Wei as well as the NJC K2 comprising veteran Michelle Oh and Alyssa Chong. Xin Lin and Tian Jiao gave their all and clinched the gold, ahead of Jamie Lian and Tan Xiao Wei. The K2 comprising newcomers Svena and Shari willed themselves to the finish line, obtaining a respectable 6th placing.
Girls: Point tally: HCI 58, NJC 54
A Division Men K2 500m
The last race of the day was the Men’s K2 500m event, where we were represented by Tan Jia Jie and Glenn Chia, who raced in the 1000m event, as well as Lee Juo Shuen (14S7B) and Jerryl Goh Chin Young (14S7A). Up against them were the same two NJC boats they competed against in the 1000m. This race proved to be an extremely tight one.
Jia Jie and Glenn Chia raced to an early lead, but towards the last 200m were overtaken by the gold medallist pair in the 1000m event, Nicholas Ho and John Lim. The second NJC boat, David Seah and Ian Leck put up a final surge, beating Jia Jie and Glenn Chia narrowly.
JC1s Juo Shuen and Jerryl put up a brave fight and achieved a commendable 4th
With that, the final race of the day was concluded. With a point tally of HCI 81 vs NJC 79, our boys team successfully defended the championship title once again, making it our fifth consecutive year of winning the title.
The girls also successfully defended the title, with a point tally of HCI 58 vs NJC 54. This was the 2nd consecutive year that the HC A girls have won the title.
This result was only possible due to the tremendous efforts of our teacher-in-charge and girls’ coach, Mr Quek Wee Tong, and teacher-in-charge Mr Justin Heng, who put in countless of hours of hard work on and off the water to help nurture and grow this team.
We would also like to credit this result to our coaches, Coach Tan Wee Jin and Coach Yosep Effendy, for their dedication and patience towards us in training. Without them, this result would not have been possible.
The Hwa Chong canoeing team would also like to thank our principals, teachers, and the school for all their support and we endeavor to strive harder to achieve continued success as a team.
Written by Natasha Charmaine Manawadu (Captain of Hwa Chong Canoeing Team)