SMK MUTIARA Impian made sure the Penang flag continues to fly high in the national scene when they displayed their brilliance in the just concluded Sports School Sports Carnival.
The Simpang Ampat team from south Seberang Prai were crowned overall champions beating 14 other schools in the country in the carnival opened only to sports schools.
The carnival, which was confined to four sports — sepak takraw (Under-14 & Under-16), football (Under-13), athletics (Boys’ and Girls’ Under-13) and netball — attracted 15 teams.
The teams from Penang, Perak, Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Selangor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, Sabah and Sarawak featured in the three-day championships which ended in Klang recently.
SMK Mutiara Impian outshone their rivals and were deserving overall champions after clinching a double in sepak takraw by picking up the Under-14 and Under-16 crowns as well as the Boys’ Under-13 football title.
Then, when they picked up a gold, six silver and five bronze medals in athletics and were shown the exit by eventual champions Kuala Lumpur in the quarter-finals of their netball campaign, they had already achieved enough to wrest the overall title.
School Parent-Teacher Association vice-chairman Muhammad Firdaus Chew was delighted with the achievement of his boys, terming their success as a belated farewell gift to headmaster Nadzir Ali who retired last month.
“Nadzir is a great motivator. His pep talk to both players and coaches prior to his retirement has got everyone working doubly hard,” said Mohd Firdaus shortly after their return to Penang.
“I am also very proud with the string of honours my players have garnered along the way.
“Mohd Faizal Abdul Halim was adjudged the best player in the Under-13 football tournament,” he said.
SMK Mutiara Impian also won the Best Athletics award with Pat Rong adjudged the Best Female Athlete for her long jump record.
There was no let down in their sepak takraw challenge either as the players nearly made a clean sweep of the individual awards, winning five of the six at stake en route to their double finish.
While Dzahir Ishak and Mohd Saiful Azri were adjudged the best Apit Kanan and best Apit Kiri respectively in the Under-16, the other three awards went to Said Ezwan Said De (Best Tekong), Ahmad Idham Mohamad (Best Apit Kanan) and Mohd Sohail Zulfaqer (Best Apit Kiri) in the Under-14 challenge.
Sepak takraw chief coach Syed Roslan Syed Khalid commended the players for walking tall in Klang.
Mutiara Impian’s Under-16 side ousted Terengganu 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) in the final while their Under-14 lads did likewise to Kedah, beating them in straight games at 21-11, 21-18.
The school’s Under-13 football team went on to add another feather in their cap when they outgunned Selangor 4-2 on penalties after both teams battled to a goalless deadlock at full-time and extra time.
Assistant coach Mohd Rakhi said the team had trained well for the competition and the victory was not a flash in the pan.
“This is our third major triumph in this season,” he said referring to the FAP Under-18 and Under-23 championships they won earlier.
Chief coach Noraeffendi Taib said it had been a long and tiring season for the team which had been taking part in tournaments since January.
“My players deserve a short rest before we start preparing for next year in early December,” he said.