Thursday 3 October 2013

by Colin Yoong, Class of 2014, Form 4 Science 2

“I would like to order three double cheese burgers, five large fries, two coke and four milo.” “Is that all sir? Thank you, your delivery will take 15 to 20 minutes.” 
Funnily enough, that was our daily morning routine during the MSSKL tennis competition.  

Held from the 25th to the 28th of March, myself along with five other players were more than eager to participate in the yearly MSSKL tennis competition (and not just for McDonalds!). Though some of the best players would be participating as well, we were all quite hopeful that even if we didn’t succeed in bagging a medal, we would at least chalk up some invaluable experience.

Other than the sound of fluorescent, chartreuse balls hitting the ground, the courts were filled with an intense silence, only broken with the occasional cheering and whoop of triumph. And with every cheer, it was eminent that a Cempaka match was ongoing. We were our own loyal fans, not forgetting our ever supportive coaches - Encik Iqbal and Cik Najihah. 

The weather however was quite unsupportive. It rained cats and dogs almost every day. And if it wasn’t pouring buckets, the sun would be blazing down relentlessly upon us, giving us the unattractive look of a charred, singed chicken after all our matches. Nevertheless, all of us determinedly fought hard and persevered, no matter how slim the odds were. 

Miraculously, after a back to back four-day battle with some of the most talented players in the state, I am proud to say that all of us emerged victorious, managing to bring home a medal each. 

Wong Shi Jinn and Annabelle Tam won bronze for the Girls Doubles U-18 category, while Ryan Yoong (my infallible partner) and I manage to secure another bronze for the Boys Doubles U-18. To top it off, Tai Kai Xin and Shariffah Dayana claimed the silver medal in the doubles category as well. 

Here are what some of my fellow teammates have to say:

This was my first MSSKL, (as I was from Melaka and I used to take part alone - no one else played tennis in my school) and it was nice to share this experience with amazing people and great players at that. I’m also really grateful for the support Encik Iqbal had given us. I competed in the girls doubles category with Shi Jinn, and even though we hardly had any time at all to train, I think we worked really well together! She would pick me up whenever I was down and I could not ask for a better partner. I think the entire team had really good sportsmanship and I liked how we would all cheer each other on during our respective matches.
- Annabelle Tam Yong Yan, Junior 1 Terra, Girls Doubles U-18

It's only the second time I've joined the school tennis team but it's really quite an experience. Mcd orders, mamak runs, playing good tennis with the sun blazing overhead, snacking, talking and bonding with friends (who happen to be the most skilled Under 18 tennis players you can find in KL) - what's not to love? 
- Wong Shi Jinn, Form 5 Science 1, Girls Doubles U-18

Participating in the MSSKL this year brings my total participations to 3 but never in the doubles category. Nonetheless it was a challenge which I enjoyed facing head on. Imagine my luck when I was paired with Colin Yoong, which naturally coined us the nickname, the “Yoong Brothers,” even though we’re not related in any way. My overall experience? Perfect. Despite all negativity we faced, we pulled through. With great support and even greater friendships, we prevailed. Clinching the bronze medal in the U-18 Doubles category was just the stepping stone to something greater. Gold medal here we come; right Colin?
- Ryan Yoong Ka Jun, Form 4 Science 1, Boys Doubles U-18

Photo Credit : Cik Najihah

In a nutshell, we gained experience that can never be bought, not just on the court but off the court as well. The teamwork and determination we displayed is just the tip of the iceberg of what a Cempakan can do. 

Side-note: Thank you to Encik Iqbal and Cik Najihah for chaperoning the Tennis team, watching over us and cheering too! Also, thank you to my doubles partner and friend, Ryan Yoong. 
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