JAMES Tan had only ever mounted the second and third steps of the rostrum.
But on Tuesday, the 16-year-old from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) finally broke his duck when he saw off all other competitors with a score of 611.9 points to clinch the individual gold in the schools national 10m air rifle Boys' B Division event.
"I am very surprised. I didn't expect to win. I had really strong competition from Singapore Sports School (SSP), Raffles Institution (RI) and Hwa Chong Institution (HCI)," he said after the competition at Safra Yishun.
"I saw myself as an underdog, having previously only won silver and bronze medals.
"I credit my win to my parents, my sister, my coach, the school as well as my friends who have supported me."
Mohamad Irwan Abdul Rahman of SSP was second with a score of 611.7 while Lee Jer Win of HCI had to settle for third with 607.7 points.
Despite James taking the individual title, it was SSP that came out victorious in the team event with a combined score of 1,819.0 points. Said Irwan: "It feels great since we're in Secondary 4 and it's our last year competing in this division."
The shooting academy in SSP was formed in 2011, making this triumph the first time the school has won the B Division title in the air rifle, a marked improvement from their fifth-placed finish last year.
ACS(I) was second with a combined score of 1,813.2 points and HCI was third with a score of 1,810.7 points.