Everything seemed tranquil and peaceful on a seemingly typical afternoon last Friday outside the Toa Payoh Sports Hall. Yet, upon stepping inside the grand hall, it was a whole different story. Loud cheers and screams of “jiayou!” (a popular phrase in Chinese used to encourage someone and cheer them on) reverberated through the hall. Not only that, the wide array of colors from the competitors’ glittering hair and striking costumes as well as the school flags and the enormous 1-storey tall banners hung by competing schools made the place a spectacle to behold.
Yet with all this, it was easy to miss the Victorians that had gathered to witness this breathtaking finale. It looked like the VJ side was outnumbered by the other schools. However, what lacked in numbers did not lack in loudness.
We were definitely a lot louder than the other schools.
As the majestic Victorian flag waved proudly at the grandstand, it was time for the A division boys’ group quanshu event, a component where a group are to execute a roughly 2 minute- long choreographed performance without any props and is accompanied by music. In this category, speed, difficulty level as well as presentation are taken into consideration by the judges.
With stunning performances put up by traditional powerhouses such as River Valley High School and Meridian Junior College, the pressure was heavy on the shoulders of these boys. However, they were unfazed by this and went on to impress the judges with perfectly synchronized moves and energetic patterns and maneuvers. This helped them to achieve a decent score of 8.71 putting them in 3rd place in this category, though not exactly satisfactory, helped to ensure they maintained their lead overall.
Next up was the girls’ turn. With the 6 girls walking confidently onto the performance zone, all decked in shiny yellow outfits that was sure to catch the attention of all the spectators, the Victorian supporters, be it the student leaders, CCA mates and teachers cheered loudly with excitement. The moves they went on to display were indeed amazing, but to our pity the equally strong performances out up by the opponents landed them in 4th with a score of 8.56.
Despite this, Ms Audrey was satisfied with the effort put in. “The teams, both boys and girls, worked in harmonious synchrony and were able to put up an exceptional performance. They gave their all and displayed a fierce determination to succeed and their hard work really paid off.”
After this, and a 3 hour long break, came the ultimate final event of the 2017 National Inter-School Wushu Championships — the Group Weapons Event. This was the event that could make or break VJC’s Wushu chances at the podium. The individual events that took place in the days before this had helped to put both the boys and girls in a strong position to garner a top 3 or higher for the overall results. As Ms Audrey said, “All of them did really well this past week. The precision of the execution of movements by all members during their individual events was also very mesmerizing.” Now, it was all down to one last event. The past week had been an exciting yet exhausting one for all members of the team and they had fought extremely hard to achieve steller results in their individual events, yet they promised themselves to fight on to the very end. And so they did.
With the final event about to start, the hall seemed much more packed than before. Parents and friends of the competitors, as well as seniors from the Wushu CCA joined in the crowd to witness this exciting moment. Screams were louder and the flag waved higher. It was the last event, but it was definitely not the least.
And it sure was not. Coupled with jaw-dropping jumps and twists, both the girls and boys moved fluidly through the entire routine, slicing the air with their silver swords without mercy. Applause echoed around the arena with every brilliant move they made. It was not difficult to see by the focused looks on their faces that they were determined to strive to the very end and perfect this last event. Ultimately, they did not disappoint. Both the girls and boys managed to get a decent 3rd position in this event, scoring 8.61 and 8.80 respectively.
Following that, it was time for the announcement of the overall results for this year’s championships. All of us were waiting with bated breath, eager to see how we would fare this time round. We waited and waited, hands clasped in anxiousness. After what seemed like hours, it was the moment of truth. The results everyone was waiting for was out. Clinching the Overall Champions for the A Division Boys was none other than….. VJC!
It was truly heartwarming watching Victorians throughout the hall coming together and celebrating in unison. All the months of hardcore training had paid off. The title was now in the hands of VJC! Meanwhile, the girls, although not being the champions this time round, garnered a commendable 3rd place. This was a wonderful and well-deserved night for the Victorian family, and also the VJC Wushu family.
The trainings these few months before today was tough, but it was great they pulled through with strong willpower. As Jia Wei from 16S37, one of the “Red Shirts” that came down to support, mentioned, “One of the performers told me how she had to train 4 times a week and that she was always very tired out during training but she persevered and despite her fatigue, pushed on to complete the routine.”
The fact that they could produce such exceptional results was also down to their teamwork and camaraderie. As Ms Audrey mentioned, “The members of the two teams took well to each other and warmed up to each other quickly. Despite the members’ varying levels of familiarity with the techniques required, everyone was able to help each other for the betterment of the team. This and the bond they share in an out of trainings has helped to create a natural synergy in the team which is truly an inspiration.”
For our Wushu team, it truly has been an exhilarating roller coaster ride — one with many ups and downs, but one that has also managed to end on an impressive high note. Congratulations VJC Wushu, and best of luck to all other CCAs in their upcoming competitions, performances and events!
James Tan, 17S51