THE disappointment at not being selected for this year's SEA Games became a source of motivation for Singapore fencer Jet Ng.
And, on Thursday, the 16-year-old created a little piece of local history for the sport, when he finished fifth out of 90 of his peers in the Under-17 cadet men's foil competition at the FIE Cadet and Junior World Championships 2015 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
It was the highest finish by a Singaporean fencer in the prestigious international tournament.
The previous high was an eighth-place finish by Joshua Ian Lim in 2012.
Speaking to The Straits Times in a phone call from Tashkent, Jet expressed his delight at having tasted the fruits of his labour.
He said: " I am absolutely excited.
To finish fifth among all the other fencers in the world is a really unexpected but a great feeling.
"Of course, I would have loved to be taking part in the SEA Games but it does not matter now.
I have many more years to go and I will work even harder to hopefully represent Singapore at the SEA Games in the future."
Jet emerged victorious in five five-point matches and four 15-point matches in the preliminary round, enabling him to advance to the elimination rounds.
In the knockout stages, Jet overcame British fencer Daniel Kiss and South Africa's Pavel Tychler to set up a last-16 bout with Youssef Eid of Egypt.
A 15-8 win meant that Jet became the first-ever Singaporean to reach the quarter-finals and he celebrated with leaps of delight, punching the air emphatically.
"I did not expect to get that far at all. I was over the moon, " said the first-year Meridian Junior College student.
However, by the time Jet squared up for his quarter-final clash against Hungarian Tamas Meszaraos, he was feeling fatigued from all the exertions of previous bouts, and fell 3-15.
Jet's father Hock Sing, who has been supporting him since he took up the sport at eight years old, felt that the breakthrough was a testament to the progress of the sport in the country.
He said: "Jet's achievement shows that young Singapore fencers are matching up to the world's traditional fencing powers."
In yesterday's cadet sabre competition, Jet's compatriot Lam Jing Siang, 15, achieved Singapore's best result in the discipline, finishing in eighth place.
This article was first published on Apr 4, 2015.
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