FOR a bunch of students who trained together for only a week, the SMK St Michael Ipoh water polo team made heads turn by winning the third spot during a Malaysia Schools Sports Council-level tournament recently.
The team lost to tournament favourites SMK Methodist (ACS) Ipoh and Tenby International School but won against Malay College Kuala Kangsar.
School water polo coach Khor Thing Phong said they had no chance of winning the four-team tournament but managed to secure one win.
“The school was invited by state water polo coach David Heong to train for the tournament.
“We got a team together on Feb 11 and started training two days later before the tournament which was held on Feb 19,” he said when contacted.
“We have two students who are in the state team and 16 others who barely know how to swim.
“The 16 students also did not have any prior training in the sport but I think we made quite an impression at the tournament,” he added.
Khor said the team trained on school grounds on weekdays and at the Tuanku Zara Aquatic Centre on weekends.
“We were also not allowed to use a ball at the pool, and only used plastic bottles as a substitute,” he added.
Khor said the school’s water polo team was last active in 2016.
“It was also that year that we beat ACS in the same tournament,” he said.
He said the upgrading of the aquatic centre, formerly known as the Ipoh Swimming Pool, had caused the school water polo team to cease activities in the second quarter of 2016.
“Most of them are Form Five students who have graduated and left school.
“For about two years, we were unable to produce any new talent,” he said.
“We are thankful for our school principal Sit Wai Yin, who was supportive of forming a new water polo team,” he added.
Khor said the tournament had boosted the team’s morale and they would continue training for next year’s tournament.
“There are potentials in the boys. I hope we can win gold next year.
“With hard work, I think we can achieve anything we put our minds to,” he said.
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