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    Where Competition Meets Camaraderie: The 2024 YCYW School Games

    EdFutures News

    07 Jun, 2024

    12 : 06

    After a football shot into the goal, the field erupted in cheers. One student ran across the field shouting, "We scored a goal!"


    Another student asked: "How many goals have you now scored?" The girl turned around and answered with pride: "The first and only one! And one goal is already a victory, isn't it!


    This happened on the second day of the 2024 YCYW School Games held at YWIES Zhejiang Tongxiang from 29 May to 31 May. Eighteen teams from YCYW campuses across China—Hong Kong SAR, Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, Yantai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, and Zhejiang Tongxiang—competed during three days of competitions, in basketball, football, and athletics.

    • Mr Michael Hampshire, the Regional Sports Manager of YCYW, explained that one of YCYW’s primary focus areas is sports and health, with a highlight on promoting the sports spirit.


      YCYW has aimed to further develop sports and health by leveraging the excellent facilities the schools possess, as well as enhancing opportunities for our students. The goal is to provide a range of programmes that allow students to participate in sports at various stages, from the beginning level to the competitive.


      Sharing the same sports spirit, each Yew Chung and Yew Wah school operates as part of a larger network. However, each school maintains its autonomy, and can thus provide students more diverse sports options based on the location and the characteristics of the particular campus. For example, some YCYW campuses can offer sailing, kayaking, climbing, or skiing. 


    Mr Hampshire said

    "Our aim is to bolster these communities and institutions by fostering their respective programmes. If YCYW schools want to introduce more specialised or emergent sports, we try to provide support. Our focus extends beyond mainstream sports, such as volleyball, basketball, and football. We are committed to enhancing our offerings across a spectrum of emerging sports. We urge every school to pioneer new initiatives, programmes, and services."

    Ellen, a Year 8 student from YCIS Qingdao:
    said that the school has provided her opportunities with many sports. "It is not only the teachers who are eager to coach us in various sports. My classmates and I love to spend most of our breaks playing on the field and trying all kinds of sports," said Ellen, who scored three goals in a row in one game. She also emphasised how YCIS Qingdao had supported her special love for football by helping her to improve her skills.

    • Dr Simon Lo, Chief Physical Education and Health Officer of YCYW, said that introducing sports culture to all students has always been a primary goal of the school. 


      "Physical Education is not only about sports and teaching skills to students. It is about a type of physical education that can enable students to explore more things that they might be interested in," said Dr Lo. He noted that teaching students scuba diving, for example, might stimulate their interest in marine sciences because of the direct physical contact students would have with the ocean. Sports like skiing and hiking expose students to nature and might arouse their interest in the environment.


    • The comprehensive course system at YCYW prepares students for the unknown--both in sports and in real life.


      Guiding students to learn how to rest and how to recognise the limitations of their own bodies is also an important part of YCYW's physical education. In the courses and the training, coaches teach students how to deal with injuries, and how to adjust their bodies to adapt to different environments.

    • "My body is what I think most about during sports," Ellen, the student from YCIS Qingdao, said. "I clearly know what my limitation is, and I will definitely stop in time in order to keep my body in good shape."


      During the intense, three-day tournament, most students participated in at least two competitions. Ms Bing Liang, the nurse responsible for first aid on site, said that although some students suffered injuries during competitions, most injuries were minor or related to the skin.


      "You could tell that the students were prepared for emergencies and knew how to protect themselves," Ms Liang said.


    • Dr Lo regards sports as a language and a means of communication that bring people together. He hopes that students prioritise friendship over other aspects of the competitions. 


      "We strive for competitiveness, but we must always be fair. Our motto encourages students to play with intensity, but always to maintain integrity," said Mr Hampshire. "Our goal is help our students broaden their horizons, develop teamwork skills, and engage more extensively with people from different areas."


      YCYW has established an unrivalled network of schools in China and abroad, and all the schools have the same educational mission and a similar pedagogy. This arrangement ensures the teaching quality of each campus. For some students, this network enables them to meet or reunite with their friends through various events held across YCYW campuses.


      For William and Kimi, two seventh-grade students from YWIES Yantai, the tournament provided them with a golden opportunity to meet up again with an old friend, who had transferred to a campus in Shanghai five years ago.


      "We never thought we would be able to meet him again," one of the students said, as they looked at each other, counting the sports that the three had played during the three-day tournament. "We chatted and played together. It felt like nothing had changed. This was so amazing."


      Jessica and Olivia are two Year 9 students from YCIS Shanghai. Both agreed that the most important takeaway from sports, as well as the aspect that they value the most, is teamwork.


      "If we were losing a game, I would feel sad and put my head down, but this would affect my teammates," said Jessica.


      "Instead of complaining, we should encourage and help each other to continue on. And during these Games, we are competing against other students from YCYW. So, no matter who wins or loses, in the end, it's YCYW that wins as a whole."


      Ms Hannah Embuscado coached the YCIS Hong Kong team during the tournament. She explained that few of the girls had been frequent basketball players until about one week before the YCYW Games, and most of the team members were not very familiar with the sport. The girls spent much of their time during the breaks practicing and learning how to play with their teammates. 


      "The most precious thing I want the girls to remember is to keep their spirits high, and to enjoy the game as though they were the best players in the gym," said Ms Embuscado, with tears in her eyes, after her team successfully won a match. "I want them to always remember this positive mentality—and its importance."


      Dr Esther Chan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (K-12 Education) of YCYW, joined the students at the Closing Ceremony of the YCYW School Games. Reflecting on her own experiences studying at YCIS Hong Kong and forging friendships with peers from other YCYW campuses, she remarked, "I really hope that the past three days have been about sports, about sportsmanship, but also about unity."


    • Several parents spontaneously organised a charity sale at the athletic field to provide the student athletes with various drinks, iced or at room temperature. They will give the proceeds from the sale to the school's Parent Organisation for its regular expenses.


      Ms Teri Ng, the mother of two boys who attend YWIES Zhejiang Tongxiang, said that the school helped her sons develop excellent exercise habits.


      "We are not the kind of parents who prioritise scores above everything else. I want my sons to be healthy, happy, and outgoing," said Ms Ng. "I really like how the school has encouraged my sons to take part in various types of athletic training. The teacher keeps in close contact with us, and has developed training routines suitable for each of my sons, in accordance with his own strength."


      The campus of YWIES Zhejiang Tongxiang has an area of approximately 78,000 square metres. Mr Hampshire said the Tongxiang campus is like "a mini-Olympic village". It has an eight-lane athletic track, a swimming pool with eight 25-meter lanes, a children's paddling pool, and a full-size football pitch that meets the specifications required for FIFA accreditation. In addition, it has a substantial sports hall equipped to accommodate two simultaneous basketball games, with the use of a curtain. The campus offers on-site residence halls and a cafeteria that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


      "Our campus can host comprehensive sporting events. There would be no need to search for external venues. All facilities are centrally located under our network's overarching umbrella," explained Mr Hampshire, who's already looking forward to the next cross-campus, YCYW sporting event.