School sports

Schools: Nanyang Girls' Jinghan fighting her way back from setbacks

NYGH judoka Wang Jinghan scoring a waza-ari. She beat RGS' Yang Tongchen to help Nanyang win the Schools National B Division girls' title.
NYGH judoka Wang Jinghan scoring a waza-ari. She beat RGS' Yang Tongchen to help Nanyang win the Schools National B Division girls' title. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Last year, Wang Jinghan left Hougang Secondary School on a stretcher. This year, the Nanyang Girls' High School (NYGH) judoka left the same venue on air - but with a gold medal in hand.

The 16-year-old, who was hospitalised last year after dislocating her collar bone in the semi-finals, beat Raffles Girls' School's (RGS) Yang Tongchen in the heavyweight class.

With the scores tied at 2-2 in the best-of-five contest, it was Jinghan's victory that helped NYGH lift the trophy for the second time as they edged out long-time rivals RGS 3-2 in yesterday's Schools National B Division final.

The bout was a tense affair, with the two judokas holding on to each other, probing for signs of weakness as they moved along the mat. Occasionally, they would kick at each other's legs, aiming to throw the other off balance.

Both eventually landed a throw each before Jinghan landed a waza-ari in the final moments, and held her opponent off till the buzzer signalled the end.

Drenched in sweat from head to toe, with tears rolling down her cheeks, she said: "I was very nervous but, more than that, I wanted to win because we put in so much effort - we sacrificed so much.

"Losing the C Division title two years ago was more painful than dislocating my collar bone."

The NYGH student fractured her arm two years ago before dislocating her collarbone. The string of injuries forced her to go through five months of physiotherapy, which raised questions over her future.

"In the first few weeks of physiotherapy, it hurt a lot, and I thought I wouldn't be able to do judo again," said Jinghan.

But she fought off the uncertainty and frequent pain by training just as hard as her team-mates.

NYGH coach Tang Jingfang said: "So many times we told her to stop training, and that her health is more important, but she never stopped."

St Gabriel's Secondary won the B Division boys' title, while Raffles Institution and Hwa Chong Institution took home the A Division girls' and boys' crowns respectively.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2017, with the headline 'Fighting her way back from setbacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe