This prestigious tournament was hosted by the British International School of Kuala Lumpur (BISKL), where our team battled against 6 other top international schools for highly sought after medals in each of the 4 disciplines of Swimming, Track & Field, T-Ball and Football.
The amount of work that goes into preparing for a tournament of this magnitude is immense. With all seven competing schools sending 14 of their best athletes from each year group in Upper Primary (Years 4, 5 &6), the standard of competition is always intense. BSG knows this from previous years and this year staff and students made a huge commitment in the lead up to The Games with early morning training sessions taking place before school 3 times per week, coaching sessions each lunchtime plus more weekend and inter-school sport taking place than in any other previous year. We really should acknowledge just how much effort staff and students put in during the months before the event as this was the foundation for a confident and talented team setting off for Malaysia this year.
The team sports of Football and T-Ball are always tough for BSG as the limited leagues in Guangzhou offer fewer opportunities for formal competition against top class opposition than perhaps schools coming from international hubs such as Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok are afforded. Nevertheless our teams showed real grit, competing hard in each match as our boys and girls made sure that each team they played knew there was a new kid on the block that meant business. Some really tight games and fantastic improvements made on previous performances but ultimately the completion was just too strong for us to place in medal positions this year. A special mention must go to the Y6 Girls Football Team and the Y4 T-Ball Team, both narrowly missed out on medals as they gave some of the hot favourites a real fright. Tremendous stuff from all.
Swimming has also been traditionally challenging for BSG athletes but this year the addition of year-round swimming within the school curriculum and some superb individual medal hauls from our superstars meant that as we entered the final stages of the competition, anticipation was high that our team may place in the top three, possibly walking away with an overall medal, for the first time in BSG history. Alas, with strength in depth lacking, we struggled in the double point relay events towards the end and slipped down the table taking us out of contention for a podium finish for one more year. Heads were high though as it was clear that a new swimming force was brewing at the FOBSIA Games with many already discussing strategy and plans for that little bit extra needed and a place on the rostrum next year.
BSG were expected to do quite well in Track & Field. Even though we had never placed in the overall top three at any previous Primary Games, Director of Sport, Mr Andrew ‘Deano’ Dean, noted that spirits were high in camp and that if each member of the talented squad performed to their full potential, giving their all, we may just mange to squeeze a top three overall finish with a coveted trophy as a prize to help put Guangzhou on the FOBISIA sporting map. High aspirations indeed and considering the completion we faced, a 4th or even a 5th place would have been a credit to our boys and girls but his confidence was infectious and certainly appreciated by the team he lead.
What happened next will go down in BSG athletics history. One by one our athletes walked out into the ‘New Camp’ stadium to represent their school at their particular individual event and one by one each performance glowed. Our parent supporters could not believe just how much each BSG student was fighting for every single point. We were picking up individual medals everywhere, creating a real buzz within our team and some very worried faces amongst the pre-event favourites. Did we have the necessary strength in depth to navigate the tricky double point relay events towards the end successfully and get onto the overall winners podium for the first time ever? YES WE COULD! And not even a bronze! Our lads and lasses pushed themselves to the limit to gain an amazing overall 2nd place and a coveted silver medal in the overall rankings for Track and Field. Wow! Pats on the backs, smiles and joy filed the air on the bus to the hotel. Rightly so as every member of the squad deserved this moment of glory.
Over the three days of intense international competition, each and every one of the 42 athletes that represented our school this year gave truly inspirational performances. Most importantly though was a growing sense of team confidence that will help ensure that sport at the British School of Guangzhou continues to grow in success and in spirit under the sure hands of a PE staff that have truly brought a love of learning to the pitches, tracks and pools of your school this year. GO RHINOS!
Written by Paul Corr