Mr Walker, Teacher of PE, reports on the recent U13 FOBISIA Games:

Upon arrival at Thanyapura the team was filled with excitement. The opportunity to compete against other schools from South East Asia and the chance to use world-class sports facilities sent all of the athlete’s energy levels sky high. However, once the students were shown their rooms the long day of travelling had taken its toll. Some of the team decided they wanted to sleep and others couldn’t sleep due to a mixture of nerves and excitement of the days to come. A quick team briefing and the 21:30 ‘lights-out’ call helped to settle the nerves and prepare the team for day one of the events; Swimming and Athletics.

Day One: Swimming & Athletics

It started with a 7am wake-up call to be ready for a team breakfast. Sleepy faces in swimming attire emerged from their rooms ready to head to the restaurant to fuel for the big day ahead, before heading off for the opening ceremony. The six competing schools, all armed with their school flags, walked with purpose from the lobby area to the team tents situated at the far end of the 25m Swimming Pool. After a fantastic demonstration from a Syrian Olympic swimmer and a few words from the tournament organiser, we were ready to start the games.

Swimming: The team had some great individual performances and were rewarded with a number of medals from the pool. Gabby managed to get our first medal of the day, coming 3rd in the 25m freestyle race. This was followed by Mia winning Silver in the 25m backstroke and Sam capturing 3rd place in the 25m butterfly. Later in the day, Margot was inspirational in swimming back to back 50m races and managed to win bronze medals in both, the 50m breastroke and 50m backstroke. Our final medal of the day came from Mia Garside who won a bronze medal in the second 50m backstroke race. Six individual medals from the swimming is a fantastic achievement, particularly when competing against a trained swim team. An amazing start!

After a quick team meeting and lunch, it was time to head to the athletics track to start marshalling for an afternoon of events.

Athletics: The team had set themselves a target to try and match or exceed the amount of medals that they won in the pool earlier that morning and they did just that. Lisa won bronze in the Girl’s Long Jump, Guy took bronze in the Discus (B) and Victor secured bronze in the Discus (A). As the afternoon went on the team managed to grab another three medals; Kon Yi took Silver in the Long Jump, Gabby a bronze in the Discus and Sally won bronze in the Shot Putt. Another six medals to add to the tally.

The team was in fantastic spirits after day one. They had to battle through a tough afternoon of events in the scorching heat, which is incredibly hard with such a small team. They all did a fantastic job and did themselves very proud. Everyone was very tired and certainly looking forward to dinner so they could refuel for the following day’s events; Girl’s Football and Boys Basketball.

Day Two: Girls’ Football & Boys’ Basketball

Girls’ Football: Miss Watt and the girls were up early for a team breakfast and they were at the football pitch nice and early for a warm-up and pre-match meeting. The girls’ team worked incredibly hard on the football pitch and did their absolute best. In fact, some worked so hard that the bottom of their football boots started to melt in the heat!
The girls played 5 matches throughout the day and all were incredibly close affairs. In three of those games, the team played with no substitutions so they really had to dig deep and support one and other on the pitch. The girls demonstrated some classy football at times showing excellent positional play in moving the ball from defense, up the line to the midfielders and then across to a waiting striker.
They may have only scored one goal throughout the competition, but what a goal it was! Lisa received the ball wide on the right hand sand and managed to strike the ball on the volley as it looped over the keeper into the back of the net. Good enough to make any ‘Golden Goal’ highlights reel!

Miss Watt said, “I am so unbelievably proud of this team! They impressed everyone today with their effort, game play and never say die attitude in very difficult conditions. They played 3 games without a sub and a few of the girls played every single minute of football in 33′ degree heat, although in reality the heat radiating off the pitch made it even hotter! They finished the competition in 5th place out of 6 with a draw, a win and 3 losses, but all said they have had a great day. Parents you should be very proud of these champions!”

Boys’ Basketball: It was a similar story over at the basketball court. The boys had to work hard against teams with far more players than us. Only having one sub and having to play back-to-back games meant that our team had to work extra hard. I was incredibly proud of everyone, they didn’t complain and they worked hard for each other, it was so impressive to see the boys act like young men and fight for shared goal. We lost our first game 13-0 but the boys didn’t let it affect their confidence and they got progressively better throughout the day, scoring 13 points in the last game. We did lose all of our games in the basketball, however it was pleasing to see the team develop and the growth of team spirit was exceptional. I am very proud!

I think it was safe to say that the team were tired that evening. We travelled with such a small squad compared to the other schools and both the teams put 100% in to every game. The girls had blisters from football and the boys were suffering from cramp. Yet, the team were in tremendous spirits and they were all ready to tackle one more day of competitive sport. Remarkable resilience!

The athletes also understood the importance of eating that evening, very hungry from a hard day at work the plates of food were very full. Guy even challenged myself (Mr. Walker) to a ‘Burger Challenge’ eating 7 ½ burgers in one sitting, which was very impressive. Though, I managed 10… Sorry, Guy! I was more impressed that Yunsung managed to eat all of his Spaghetti without spilling any down his polo shirt this time! Another huge boost to morale that evening was the comedy value around the Pool Table. Some very interesting takes on playing the game of Pool, particularly Gabby and her episodes of pure brilliance. All memories that the students will never forget.

Day Three: Boys’ Football & Girls’ Basketball: 

This time it was the boys turn to wake up early for breakfast, overload with carbs and head to the football pitch. Fortunately for the boys it was a little cooler than when the girls had to play. We were certainly grateful for cloud cover when it came. The stage was set for the last sports event for the boys at this year’s U13 games, a little sad that it was almost over, the boys took to the pitch ready for game one.

Boys’ Football: This was certainly a learning curve for our boys. We played against 5 very strong football teams and lost each game by a number of goals. However, it was a fantastic learning experience and the boy’s heads never dropped from start to finish. Throughout the competition the team kept making their own targets and did their best to try and achieve them. Just when I thought I couldn’t be any prouder if I tried the footballers made one of the most mature, inspirational and moving decisions I’ve actually ever witnessed. We were quite obviously struggling because the team were tired, it was very hot, we had one substitute and we were losing game after game. So, some of the other teams asked if we would like to borrow some of their players to make it easier for us, which was a very kind gesture. So I asked the team… All of the boys stood together and said, “Sir, we can do this by ourselves, we have got this far”. Absolutely remarkable, I was lost for words. What an incredible group of young men.

And then… MAGIC HAPPENED! The Goal of the Tournament was scored. By none other than our very own Kon Yi. A moment of excellence. The ball rolled to Kon Yi from a tackle just beyond the half-way line and he saw that the keeper wasn’t paying attention, so he took a chance. A powerful strike, lobbed the goalkeeper with precision and accuracy and ended up in the back of the net. It was easily from 25 yards. All of the players fell over, I fell over, and all of the other teams were running on the pitch to celebrate. It was like a festival, one moment of magic for our team and it created a memory that will last forever. Incredible scenes!
Girls’ Basketball: This is the event the girls were really looking forward to. They have trained incredibly hard in the lead up to the games and their progress has been outstanding. After a morning of supporting the boys at the football pitch, it was time for the girls to put on their new basketball kit and make their way to the courts for their first game.

They started nervously and had trouble keeping possession of the ball losing their first 3 games. However, with every game they grew in confidence and started to take more shots and were always competitive. Their second last game of the day was against another team that had yet to win a game and the girls took their scoring opportunities and got away to an early 6-0 lead at half time. The girls kept their composure and went on to win the match 10-2!! Spirits and confidence lifted, they took to the court for their last game against Bromsgrove, which the two coaches had termed ‘The Walking Dead’ play basketball, as both teams had been surviving with minimal substitutes. A win in the last game could have seen the team move into 3rd place but unfortunately it wasn’t to be as Bromsgrove won the match 9-4.

At the conclusion of the match, knowing that it was their last FOBISIA match, all the girls were unanimous in wanting to just keep playing!

Coming home:
An exhausting but remarkable couple of days in Phuket. This group of young athletes have overcome an extraordinary amount of challenges and they have done themselves very proud. We competed against schools that are much bigger than us, with larger teams, and they really stood up to the test.

It has been a fantastic experience for all involved. They have competed as a team, against tough opposition, on exceptional facilities. Furthermore, they have also travelled abroad with their peers and developed stronger relationships as part of a team. All of the team enjoyed the competitive side of the tournament but also the social side, it was fantastic to see our pupils socialising with pupils from other schools and looking to stay in touch in the future.

All in all, it’s hard to put into words just how proud Miss Watt and I are of this group of children. Fantastic spirit and resilience coupled with an incredible attitude towards learning and gaining experience. Thank you, to the U13 FOBISIA team – see you at the U15s Games!!

Mr. Walker & Miss Watt


FOBISIA U13 Medals

Team: Victor, Yunsung, Margot, Lisa, Mia, Sally, Gabrielle, Guy, Haziq, Angelina, Kon, Sam and Kiran.