A dispute over the score in the deciding singles of yesterday's National Schools Boys' A Division tennis team final between Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC) halted play for several minutes, as officials and the respective teachers were called on court to resolve the conflict.
The disagreement ended with the umpire standing by his call despite strong protest from ACJC's player, Timothy Ong.
Leading the second set 5-3 when play resumed, ACS (I)'s Raahil Doshi (above), who had won the first set in a tense tie-break, conceded the next two points to hand the game to ACJC's Ong.
Raahil, 17, managed to regroup in the next game and sealed victory with a clean passing shot winner, as his opponent hurled his racket into the net in frustration.
Raahil's 7-6 (5), 6-4 win handed ACS (I) a 3-2 overall victory and their first Boys' A Division tennis title since 2007.
Touching on the controversy later, ACJC's teacher-in-charge Roberta Tan said: "Emotions can run high in certain situations and, although students may sometimes think a call is biased against them, they should learn to accept it and move on to play their game. "Officials are humans, too, and mistakes are bound to happen... We just have to deal with them the best way we can."
Raahil, who had suffered cramps late in the second set, credited his win to focus and willpower.
When asked how he maintained his composure despite the distractions, he said: "Of course there was pressure, but I really wanted to win for my team.
"I just remained focused and tried not to think about it.
"I told myself to try and stretch it out, keep moving my feet and do it for my school."
Said his coach, Ang Hock Chai: "Raahil's really strong, he never gave up as he knew it would be end of our dream. "It has been a great final, with ACJC's best pitted against our best players."
ACS (I) had taken the early lead, winning both doubles matches for a 2-0 lead.
A dominant display in the first singles saw ACJC captain Ong Wei Yao beat Yoshio Masuda 6-2, 6-4 to earn his team their first point. Giritharan D's 7-5, 4-1 (retired) victory over Imran Mooraj - the latter succumbed to cramps - levelled the scores and ensured a tense finish, with Raahil emerging the hero.
For the ACJC boys, yesterday's final marked the end of a dream season.
They had defeated six-time defending champions Raffles Institution 3-2 in the semi-finals to make their first final appearance since 2006 and captain Wei Yao could not be prouder.
"We worked really hard to avenge last year's semi-final loss to RI," said Wei Yao.
"This year, we continued training hard even after the semi-finals, because we knew the final would be tough.
"I think we played well today, but ACS (I) played better - they were one point ahead of us today."
This article was first published on May 14, 2015.
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