School sports: National School Games heats up April 18-22; 19 sports in action
After two topsy-turvy years, the National School Games (NSG) are back in their full glory with all 29 sports being contested for the first time since the pandemic.
The school sports scene heats up this week (April 18-22) with a packed schedule for student-athletes competing for honours in 19 sports, including badminton, rugby, water polo, swimming, squash and table tennis.
This year's NSG resumed on the first day of Term 2 on March 21 with all team sports being contested in their standard formats, except for rugby which will be a sevens format instead of the usual 15s.
As the A, B and Senior Divisions traditionally begin in January and end before the June school holidays, the shortened calendar this year means student-athletes face a packed few weeks ahead of them.
The C and Junior Divisions typically commence in Term 3.
Student-athletes, parents and supporters have relished the NSG's return as the school sports scene comes alive again.
While the Ministry of Education will look into allowing in-person student spectators at some of the competitions in a few weeks' time, other supporters can follow the action live at this website.
Here are some key events taking place this week:
With badminton being one of the sports that will be contested at the national level this year, student shuttlers will be battling for honours in the zonal competitions.
The first finals will be the East Zone B Division boys' and girls' events on April 20 and 21 respectively.
While the finalists for both events have yet to be determined, the top four from last year have qualified for the semi-finals again with defending champions Victoria School taking on Dunman High School earlier in the week.
Anglican High School, who finished second last year, will have to get past 2019 champions Ngee Ann Secondary to reach the final again.
The South Zone B Division boys' finals will take place on April 22. The finalists have not been confirmed.
A different format but familiar contenders remain. The sevens format has not dented the ambitions of heavyweights St Andrew's Secondary (SASS) and Anglo-Chinese School (Independent).
Defending champions ACS(I) take on Raffles Institution (RI) in the semi-finals on April 18 while 2019 finalists SASS will play ACS (Barker Road). The finals will be held on April 21.
After beating two-time defending champions Singapore Chinese Girls' School and finishing top in the preliminary round, Methodist Girls' School are the favourites heading into the finals on April 20.
But they face a tough opponent in Raffles Girls' School, who are hoping to reclaim the title they last won in 2017.
After a two-year hiatus, the swimming championships return on April 18 with a new format for longer-distance events. Those 200m and longer will have only timed finals while the other events will see the heats and finals take place on different days.
The six-day meet will see several SEA Games-bound athletes like Bonnie Yeo (RI), Ashley Lim, Ephraim Tan and Gabriel Koo - all ACS(I) - in action at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
Like previous years, it will culminate in the highly-anticipated relays on the last two days of competition (April 22 and 25).
Nearly all the zonal finals will take place this week, with the matches kicking off in the west on April 18. Like last year, the sport will not be contested at the national level.
River Valley High School have the chance to sweep both girls' and boys' West Zone B Division titles as they take on defending champions Nanyang Girls' High School and Hwa Chong Institution respectively in a repeat of the finals last year.
The North Zone finals for both genders then take place on April 21, along with the East Zone boys' final, before the South Zone finals on April 22. Finalists for these matches have not been decided.
HCI are hoping to retain both A and B Division boys' titles and will take on familiar opponents in both finals on April 18.
In the B Division, they face ACS(I), whom they beat 5-3 in the 2019 final, while they will play Raffles Institution also in a rematch of the 2019 A Division final.
Selected NSG fixtures this week:
Monday (April 18)
Fencing (from 9am)
National B Division boys' epee preliminary round and finals, national B Division girls' sabre preliminary round and finals
Table Tennis (3.45pm)
West Zone B Division finals Boys: Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) v River Valley High School (RVHS), Girls: Nanyang Girls' High School v RVHS
Track & Field (from 2.30pm)
Multiple event finals, including high jump, 100m, 400m, 1,500m and 3,000m.
East Zone B Division finals Boys (10.45am): St. Hilda's Secondary v Dunman Secondary, Girls (1.15pm): Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School v Cedar Girls' School
National B Division boys' final (11am): Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) v HCI, national A Division boys' final (2pm): HCI v Raffles Institution
Tuesday (April 19)
Fencing (from 9am)
National B Division boys' foil preliminary round and finals, national B Division girls' epee preliminary round and finals
Final day of A, B and C Division tournaments
Swimming (from 9am)
Multiple event finals, including 200m individual medley and 200m backstroke
Wednesday (April 20)
East Zone B Division boys' final: Ngee Ann Secondary/Anglican High School v Victoria School/Dunman High School
Fencing (from 9am)
National B Division boys' sabre preliminary round and finals, national B Division girls' foil preliminary round and finals
National B Division boys' final (1.30pm): finalists to be confirmed
National B Division boys' final (3pm): Catholic High School v RI
National B Division girls' final (12pm): Raffles Girls' School v Methodist Girls' School
Swimming (from 9am)
Multiple event finals, including 100m and 400m freestyle
Thursday (April 21)
National B Division boys' final (4pm): ACS(I)/RI v ACS (Barker Road)/St. Andrew's Secondary
North Zone B Division boys' and girls' finals (3.45pm): finalists to be confirmed,
East Zone B Division boys' finals (3.30pm): Dunman High School/Anglican High School v Victoria School/Chung Cheng High School (Main)
Friday (April 22)
North Zone B Division finals Boys (2.30pm): finalists to be confirmed, Girls (1pm): finalists to be confirmed,
South Zone B Division finals Boys (2.30pm): finalists to be confirmed, Girls (1pm): finalists to be confirmed
National B Division girls' final (3pm): finalists to be confirmed
Swimming (from 2pm)
Multiple event finals, including 100m backstoke, 100m butterfly and 50m freestyle
Track & field (from 2.30pm)
Multiple event finals, including high jump, long jump, 400m hurdles and 200m