Becoming a champion is no easy task, and so it proved for the winners of the 2011-12 All Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Volleyball Tournament. Wa Ying College and Yan Chai Hospital No 2 Secondary School won the boys' and girls' titles, respectively, after hard-fought finals held on New Year's Eve at Tsing Yi Sports Centre.
Yan Chai, the defending champions, took on STFA Cheng Yu Tung Secondary School who were taking part in their first-ever Jing Ying final.
This was a rematch of last year's semi-final, and the crowd thought Cheng Yu Tung would gain sweet revenge when they won the first two sets 25-23, 25-19. But it was not to be, as Yan Chai battled back to win the next three sets and the title, 25-19, 25-17, 15-11.
Yan Chai captain, To Wing-tung, said she was exhausted after the match, which lasted almost two and a half hours.
'I did my very best on the day and shifted between defence and attack frequently. I don't think I am going to have a [New Year] countdown today. I will go home and sleep,' said the Form Five student. Her younger twin sister, To Wing-man, was named the most valuable player (MVP) - her second successive award in the tournament.
Wing-man was suffering from a sore throat, but it didn't affect her performance.
Yan Chai coach, Allen Wong, said: 'We were lagging behind in the second set and it was obvious that our team couldn't win that set. But I told the girls not to give up easily. They made their opponents run a lot at the end of the second game. Since endurance is Cheng Yu Tung's weak point, it gave us a chance to make a comeback.'
In the boys' category, Wa Ying beat title-holders, Cheung Sha Wan Catholic Secondary School, to be crowned champions on the last day of 2011. Cheung Sha Wan started badly by losing a tight first set 31-33. They hit back to win the second and third sets 25-14, 25-17, but Wa Ying claimed the fourth, 25-20. Wa Ying's morale was high in the fifth set, and they went on to take the title with a 15-10 victory. The match lasted two hours.
Wa Ying captain, Daniel Siu Cheong-hung, was named MVP. He also received the best blocker, best receiver, best spiker and All Star team member awards.
'It's a dream come true. I really want to thank my teammates who played well throughout the tournament,' said Daniel.
Wa Ying coach, Chow Kwok-kit, said his team's target was to reach the semi-finals. 'With hundreds of our schoolmates supporting us today, our team played really well,' Chow said.
In the matches to decide third place, La Salle College beat Diocesan Boys' School, while Heep Yunn School defeated Pui Ying Secondary School in the girls' competition.