Having come up short twice against Raffles Institution (RI) in the Schools National squash finals, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) player Kieren Tan was determined to stop history from repeating itself again.
In the fifth and deciding match of the B Division boys' final yesterday, the 16 year-old did just that - coming from behind to beat RI's Li Chu Wei 8-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-6 - stopping RI from retaining their crown at the Kallang Squash Centre.
The ACS(I) player had lost his C Division match two years ago against RI, and again in last year's final to RI's Rutvik Rau Bairavarasu.
"I've lost two years in a row and I really wanted to win. In a sense, you could say I wanted revenge," said Kieren .
ACS(I) coach Victor Koh said that the key to Kieren's comeback was his aggression after losing the first set.
He said: "Kieren's was very conservative with his shots at first.
"But I told him to be more aggressive and up the pace of the game. "
The best-of-five final kicked off amid a chorus of cheers from both schools, as ACS(I)'s Matthew Wong drew the first blood in defeating RI's Ong Zheng Ting 11-5, 11-7, 11-5.
RI - B Division champions for the last two years - were no pushovers though, and came back as Tan Izhi outplayed ACS(I) captain Ernest Chua 11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8.
ACS(I)'s David Mow gave his team the lead again, outplaying Tobias Khoo 11-7, 11-2, 11-7.
However, RI's Jovan Lee ensured the final would be decided in the final match, beating Wong Xu Hong 11-6, 11-0, 11-8.
This time though, it was the victorious ACS(I) team who sang their school anthem at the prize ceremony, although the RI team were sporting in defeat as they congratulated the winners.
Said RI coach Allan Chang: "ACS(I) played tremendously well today, it was a really exciting final."