Entering the final event at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall, Chung Cheng High School (Main) looked odds-on to emerge triumphant in the B Division Boys' competition at the Schools National Wushu Championships.
After all, prior to yesterday's final event (group weapon), they had a healthy eight-point lead over their nearest challengers, River Valley High School.
But River Valley had other ideas, and they rallied hard to win the final discipline while Chung Cheng could only manage a lowly sixth place.
That was enough to see River Valley crowned champions on 87 points, pipping Chung Cheng (85) by just a whisker.
The winning team of yesterday's final event earned 11 points, while second place was worth nine, third place seven and so on. Chung Cheng's sixth spot was afforded a solidarity point.
The gallant comeback was all the more remarkable for River Valley as it was their first-ever B Boys' wushu title.
"It was a very close fight and an unexpected win," said River Valley's captain Berwin Ng. "We just carried hope in our hearts and wanted to put in our best."
"Our main intention was to just enjoy it and this thought really motivated us," added the Secondary 4 student.
Chung Cheng, who were bidding for their first double since 2007, however, managed to withstand heavy pressure from Nanyang Girls' High School to win the B Girls' crown in front of a crowd of about 1,500.
Said Chung Cheng's girls' captain Rachel Lim: "We worked very hard and were determined to do well.
"We just wanted to leave the carpet with no regrets as our coach had drilled in us the mentality of doing our best."
Meanwhile, Nanyang Girls' bagged their fifth consecutive title in the C Girls competition, while Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) won the C Boys.
Meridian Junior College retained their title in the A Boys. However, things were not as rosy for defending champions Victoria Junior College (VJC), who lost to HCI in the A Girls.
The loss ended VJC's five-year winning streak dating back to 2010.
This article was first published on April 11, 2015.
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