Debut of North Hill halls in upcoming IHG

By Darren Ching

Banyan Hall badminton vice captain Chalern Phamavanh practising a smashing drill. His team are aiming for a top-16 finish this IHG. PHOTO: BELICIA TEO

THE upcoming Inter-Hall Games (IHG) will see the introduction of three new halls from the North Hill cluster – Binjai, Tanjong and Banyan – taking the number of competing halls to 21.

Challenges faced

The sports directors of these new halls faced numerous challenges when preparing for their inaugural appearance at the Games.

They had to create a sporting culture in their hall and get the hall residents to participate in sports-related activities.

Other challenges included the sourcing for equipment and recruiting of players.

According to Eugene Lee, 22, Banyan Hall’s sports director, they started from ground zero.

“Almost all equipment had to be bought and this lack of equipment meant that we had trouble conducting trials and training sessions.

“The greatest problem was finding players for each of the 20 sports, especially when incoming first-year students have a guaranteed two years hall stay,” said the second-year student from School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE).

The guaranteed hall stay meant that freshmen do not need to participate in hall activities in order to secure a place in hall the following year, unlike previous years.

Nevertheless, many players who were deprived of the opportunity to represent their halls last season are raring to go.

Captain of Tanjong Hall’s badminton team and second-year School of Humanities student Ang Shi Han, 22, said: “I’m definitely excited for our first IHG. The team is a fun bunch so it’ll be a good experience to represent Tanjong together.”

With the halls facing a shortage of players for almost every sport, the objective is for the players to get experience and enjoy the Games, rather than winning.

“Even for the sports we are hopeful for (such as badminton), there are insufficient players so winning is a secondary concern,” said Tanjong Hall’s sports director Benedict Lui, 21, a second-year Renaissance Engineering Programme student.

Banyan Hall’s lack of experience in the IHG has not stopped its badminton captain, Daryl Chew, 24, from being optimistic.

“There’s potential in some of the first-year players who were former school players,” said the final-year School of Civil and Environmental Engineering student.

Nanyang Crescent halls

For the even newer Nanyang Crescent cluster halls, their participation hopes in the upcoming IHG were denied by the Hall Olympiad Committee due to budget issues and a lack of participation.

Tamarind Hall’s sports director, Ahmad Syafiq Amran, 24, had hoped his hall’s athletes could look forward to participating in this year’s IHG.

But the formation of teams in Tamarind Hall has been difficult with only the netball players training regularly, while other sports have yet to form a team.

It was confirmed by Chairman of the Hall Olympiad Committee, Haziq Sulaiman, that the Nanyang Crescent halls will not feature in this year’s IHG.

Haziq, a third-year School of Civil and Environmental Engineering student, said: “It’s a challenge managing the games with 21 halls. For those sports they are competing in, a larger budget will be required to book more venues and referees.”

“The new halls are unable to guarantee which sports they will be participating in, thus making scheduling an uphill task,” said the 23-year-old. “They can look to how current participating halls organise their teams and aim to compete in next year’s IHG.”

Prior to the news, Tamarind’s netball team had been training regularly in preparation for this year’s IHG, but has since stopped training.

“Even though we have yet to have a full squad, it’s unfortunate to lose this chance,” said Tamarind Hall’s netball team captain Magdelene Chua, 20.

The second-year student from the School of Biological Sciences added: “Hopefully we can increase publicity of the various sports then we can have more regular training sessions.”

More teams in the mix

With more halls participating in the upcoming IHG, the competition is set to increase.

Halls who are vying for places in the knockout stages face stiffer competition. And with a greater number of competitors, more matches are set to be played, leading to a higher rate of fatigue.

Hall 10’s basketball team captain, Alvin Chun, 22, believes his team, who finished as quarter finalists last year, will find it much tougher to make it to the finals this time around.

“Last year, we were hoping to make it to the finals to retain our title, but with the three new halls competing in basketball, we have new opponents to compete with, making it much harder,” said the second-year Material Science Engineering student.

With a slew of new teams and players, this IHG season promises to be filled with surprises.

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