Tennis boys are off to a strong start despite initial setbacks, scoring a clean win against Cambodian counterparts in the preliminaries.
Semarang, Indonesia – Focus and a never-say-die attitude paid off for our Tennis boys at the preliminaries of the 11th ASEAN Schools Games (ASG) this morning.
Despite being pinned down by their opponents initially, our boys stayed resolute and managed to swing the game back onto their court.
Captain of the Tennis Boys’ team, Timothy Lim Tze Hsien, was an inspiration for his team during his match against Cambodia’s Khleang Ponlok, in the men’s singles.
Despite being down by two games initially, Timothy radiated calm and leaned on his training to level the set with a score of 5-5.
“I tried to go for too much for the first few games, and ended up making a lot of errors. I slowed down my pace and was able to catch up,” said the 16-year-old Raffles Institution student.
Timothy’s perseverance paid off. With a precision in his serves and fueled by cheers from his teammates, coach and team manager, Timothy eventually sealed the match with a score of 8-5.
Sixteen-year-old RI student Timothy Lim scoring his final point against Cambodia’s Khleang Ponlok.
Although this is Timothy’s second time participating in ASG, he feels that the experience this time round presents a different set of challenges.
“Back then, I was playing on home ground when Singapore hosted ASG in 2017, and so it was a lot more comfortable for me. This time it’s a different surface with different spectators. So it’s a new environment for me, but I’m still happy to play here.”
Timothy’s teammates Adithya Suresh as well as duo Poon Phusangmook and Sameel Kai Sinnathuray also put up a spirited fight in their men’s singles and doubles matches against their Cambodian opponents respectively.
For Adithya who is an ASG debutant, despite being down by three games initially, he managed to pull off the unexpected to secure a win with a score of 8-5.
“I started off pretty shaky but after a few games, coach Chin and I analysed what was going on, and I managed to stabilise my emotions to focus on the basics,” said the 14-year-old Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student.
No doubt, a contributing factor to the players’ morale and performance today was the support from their fellow teammates during the matches, whose cheers could be heard echoing from the stands.
“Despite us coming from different schools, I think we managed to get along really well, and we’ve really quite bonded as a team”, Timothy observed.
A Special Birthday
For Audrey Tong who is from the Tennis Girls’ team, her first experience at the ASG so far has been memorable.
Audrey turned 13 on the day of departure to Semarang, and was surprised by her parents and teammates at the airport with a birthday cake.
Audrey Tong celebrating her birthday at the airport. Photo credit: Mr Edwin Tong
“Celebrating my birthday with the whole team this year was really special and is something I definitely won’t forget!” said the Methodist Girls’ School student, who also happens to be the youngest student-athlete of the Singapore contingent this year.
And to make it extra special, Audrey’s father, Mr Edwin Tong, was also there to cheer his daughter on the sidelines of her first match today against the Indonesian team.
Audrey Tong and her father, Mr Edwin Tong.
On his hopes for Audrey, Mr Tong said: “I hope that ASG will allow Audrey to learn from her seniors and to understand the sport better, while being part of a team with a strong team spirit and playing for Singapore.”
“I’m here to give my fullest support to Audrey and also to the Singapore team. I hope the experience will help them to build camaraderie with one another and provide them valuable learning opportunities.”