JAKARTA - Jowen Lim's right ankle has been strapped into a walking boot as he hobbled around the Jakarta International Expo during the Asian Games wushu competition.
But, for at least three minutes over the last two days, he was determined to "kick the bad thoughts away" as he performed his routine during the two-part daoshu (broadsword)/gunshu (cudgel) all-round event.
His modified routine, which was slower and comprised fewer jumps so as not to aggravate his ankle sprain, was not enough for a medal but the 19-year-old believes his fourth-placed finish is a well-deserved one.
The 2017 SEA Games champion in this event was calm as he spoke to media after the final scores were released on Tuesday (Aug 21), saying: "Considering my ankle, I think I did okay.
"Honestly, I already knew where I stood and the top three (finishers) totally deserve their positions, so getting fourth for me is well-deserved also."
Lim finished fourth with a total of 19.4 after scoring 9.70 in the gunshu part of the event. He had scored 9.70 for the daoshu part the day before and had been ranked third ahead of the gunshu. But Indonesia's Achmad Hulaefi, who also scored 9.70 in the daoshu, posted 9.71 in the gunshu to overtake Lim for the bronze.
The Singaporean was not disheartened about missing out on bronze by 0.01 point, explaining that it is not as narrow a margin as most people believe.
"In wushu, 0.01 is actually a lot to us because there are usually a lot of people who get the same score," said Lim, adding that scores are calculated to many decimal places to determine an athlete's final rank.
He was, however, disappointed that the injury hampered his performance. During a training session last Wednesday, he had landed wrongly on a jump and twisted his ankle as he fell. He had been cleared to compete only on Sunday - a day before the daoshu part of the event - but revealed he had intended to compete regardless.
"I sacrificed a lot for this competition and even deferred my studies (for a year) for this. I had no intention not to complete," said Lim.
Competing while injured meant that the teenager had to do a less strenuous routine and warm-up, but he was intent on ensuring these limitations did not take a toll on his mind while he performed.
"If I'm feeling disappointed when I warm up and when I go up (onto the competition mat), I'll have no confidence in myself to (execute) my routine and movements," said Lim. "So I have to kick the bad thoughts away... (or else I would have) trained so hard for nothing."