Representing the state of Penang, our school sent 6 students, making up 2 teams, to participate in the National Robotic Competition 2016 (NRC) organised by Sasbadi Holdings Berhad in co-operation with the Ministry of Education. The venue of the event was Chancellor Hall in Universiti Teknologi Petronas located in Teronoh, Perak.
The event was held over 3 days (23rd – 25th September), the first day being the preparation day, followed by the actual competition day and finally the closing ceremony and prize presentation.
Our school teams went early in the morning of the first day to seize the opportunity of practising throughout the first day. We scrutinised various teams from other Malaysian states but we were confident in our robot and hoped for the best the next day. On the day of the competition, an additional surprise rule was announced and participants were challenged to find the solution to a given task in order to stand out amongst the fellow competitors. As a strategic move, one team decided not to alter the program while the other would try completing the additional task. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the first team did not make the cut for the final round whereas the other team would go on. In the finals, the team was nervous as they had not managed to secure all objectives. However, through calmness and focus, the team members overcame the stress and successfully obtained the maximum points possible and emerged as champions, gaining the honour to represent Malaysia along with the 1st runner-up and 2nd runner-up in World Robot Olympiad (WRO), an international event participated by various countries from across the globe.
In 2016, WRO was held in India Expo Centre, New Delhi, India. Each participating country would send their respective national champions to compete against each other to determine the crème de la crème. Similarly the event was held over 3 days (25th – 27th November). On the first day, the Malaysian contingent arrived at the venue early in the morning and preparations were started immediately. The team from our school was extremely nervous and excited as that was their first time participating in an international event where they would meet the best of the best. During the preparations, the team noticed many countries having much better robots than theirs yet they remained hopeful.
On the next morning, another surprise rule was announced. The team decided to play safe and not bother with it until the finals. Three qualifying rounds were held. The Malaysian teams did not do so well on the first round however they remained persistent. After three rounds, all Malaysian teams managed to past the qualifiers, with our school team coming in at 8th, highest of the Malaysian teams. At night, a friendship dinner was held and nationals from all walks of life mingled around and got to know each other.
On the third and final day, the Quarter-Final and Semi-Final were held with our school team ploughing through at 2nd place while the other Malaysian team was eliminated one by one, to the discouragement of the school team members. As the only Malaysian team going into the finals, hopes and tension was high as the weight fell onto the team members. But in a twist of fate, there was a technical issue which caused the robot to malfunction, shattering the hearts of the team. The results and prizes were presented following the end of the competition with our school team coming in at 13th place overall. It was an unforgettable experience and there was no use crying over spilt milk. The team members were very grateful to all those who had helped them in their journey.
Mr Lau Chong Beng
Principal MBS Penang