By Philip John Siow, class of 1948, (Founder Committee Member)
OPA-SPI Games Carnival 2017
The OPA – SPI Annual Games 2017 was held on the 5th of August 2017 with the four main sports of Football, Basketball, Volleyball & Table Tennis played in S.P.I (Secondary) in Mont La Salle, Lobak. The badminton competition was held a day earlier on the 4th August in Ma Hwa Badminton Hall, Rasah. Due to unavoidable circumstances Squash had to be played on 12th August 2017 in Royal Sungai Ujong Club and Hockey was played on 19th August 2017 in S2 Hockey Stadium. A month prior to the games, a planning meeting was held in the SPI (Secondary) between the Organizing Chairman, Mr. Steven Chan, OPA Secretary, Mr. Lee Kok Keong, SPI Senior Assistance in charge of co-curriculum, Ms Shantini Lingam and SPI Hockey Coach, Mr. Subramanian Rathnam to work on the logistic.
On the morning of 5th August 2017, the scenario in the school field was of a carnival atmosphere. As early as 7.30 am, droves of old boys including some from the senior year groups were already lining up to sign up for participation and immediately proceeding to the respective games station to warm up. Noticeably present was “Mr. Evergreen” James Lee, from class of 1965 who was also a retired sport teacher and coach for the school. A light but good breakfast prepared by the school canteen caterer was arranged for all participants. All together a total of 178 students and old boys participated in the events.
The badminton competition drew the most numbers of entries from OPA yet again. The coordinator, Mr. Loh Yah Shang has to work out a team of 7 doubles consisting of regulars, senior players and rookies to take on the much younger SPI team, which consisted mainly under 15 school players. However, OPA still proved to be the much stronger team when they trashed their junior counterpart with a score of 5 – 2. At the same time, extra courts were opened for those not selected to the team and they had a friendly game among themselves. Organizing Chairman, Steven Chan was present to present the trophy and medals to the winning team.
In the football competition, SPI displayed a credible performance especially in the first half and in fact were the first team to score after some neat passing. However, the youngsters were playing against a regular and much more seasoned OPA team. OPA wasted no time in finding the equalizer and were then in total control for the rest of the match. The match ended with a score of 5 – 2 in OPA’s favour.
Table tennis was a touch and go affair. OPA was short of players and Coordinator cum Captain, Mr. Yam Kait Wah had to look for some last minute recruits and he himself had to play in both the singles and doubles to slog it out against the dynamic young Paulians. With the score tied at 2 – 2, and with a last match to go, SPI won the honour with a 3 – 2 win. Congratulations to SPI for winning the table tennis trophy for a second year running.
In the Volleyball match, OPA avenged their 2016 defeat by winning with a same scoreline of 2 – 1. Led by Captain Royston Chan, who was an ex-school player together with ex-teacher James Lee and another senior Paulian, Lawrence Tan, OPA dominated over the younger Paulians. Credit must be given to SPI for their fighting spirit in winning a game despite the odds.
In Basketball, SPI went down tamely to OPA 24 -54. The OPA team, led by captain Leon comprised of many players from the younger year group were really energetic and in high spirit cheering and shouting slogans each time they scored points. It has to be noted that OPA has all along dominated this sport in the past years.
The players then gathered at the foyer for the closing ceremony and prize giving. SPI Principal, Mr. Lee Boon Seng presented the trophies and medals to the OPA winning teams, while Organizing Chairman, Mr. Steven Chan presented to the SPI winning teams. In his closing speech, the Organizing Chairman thanked everyone for coming together in solidarity of true Paulians’ spirit to share the close bond with our alma mater. The ceremony ended with the singing of School Rally and Victory March.
With OPA leading by 4 -1, in a seven sports contest, the outcome of the two remaining sports to be played were deemed academic. OPA for the second year running lifted the overall trophy donated by Mr. Ng Yee Tim.
The Squash competition was played on 12th August. A total of 6 singles games were played instead of the original plan for 9 due to lack of players from both side. The game ended with a tie of 3 – 3 but in true sporting spirit, OPA recognised the younger Paulians as the winner. OPA President Mr. David Wee was present to give away the prizes.
Lastly, on 19th August, hockey was played in S2 Hockey Stadium. OPA was just no match for the SPI school team but it was a very good game all the same. When the last whistle was blown, the final score was 4 – 1 in favour of SPI. OPA Committee member, Mr. Yam Kait Wah gave away the prizes representing the Organizing Chairman, Mr. Steven Chan who was away overseas.
The Organizing Committee placed on record a special word of thanks to the donors of the respective challenge trophies - Mr. David Wee for Badminton, Dato’ Edwin S. Sebastian for Basketball, Dato M. Ramalingam for Football, The Late Dato‘ Joseph Menezes for Hockey, Mr. Lim Lek Yan for Table Tennis and Mr. John Chia for Volleyball.