SINGAPORE - He cut a subdued figure throughout, but there was no mistaking who the crowd at the Safra Yishun range were cheering for as thunderous cheers and applause greeted his final shot.
In the end, 13-year-old Gordon Leong did manage to break into a smile, albeit a slightly nervous one, and he had good reason to, for he had just claimed the boys' 10m air rifle title at the Schools National C Division Shooting Championships on Friday (July 13).
His victory - his first individual gold in the competition - had his schoolmates from Raffles Institution (RI) on their feet as it made him a two-time winner.
He had also been part of RI's winning team days earlier, as the Raffflesians claimed their first 10m air rifle team title since 2015.
He played a key role in that victory as the second-best performer in the team, scoring 600.9, behind only Bryan Koh (607.4).
On Friday, Gordon led the pack with 245.1 points, while the runner-up from Singapore Sports School (SSP), Tang Hong An, returned a 242.
"I'm very happy as it was my first competition and I expected my team-mates to win it," Gordon told The Straits Times.
"I was nervous in the last few shots but I knew I had won before the final shot was fired."
The 13-year-old first started the sport when he was in Primary 4. He has been training with the RI shooting club since the start of the year, even setting aside time to train through the recent June holidays.
He added: "I want to thank my coach, Li Jie, for the win. I hope I am able to build on this and be better in future competitions."
In the girls' 10m air rifle final, St Joseph's Institution International's Natanya Tan won with 242.0 points, ahead of SSP's Lee Jing Le (241.1) and Irna Qistina Noorazlin (231.0).
Other winners in the finals were Temasek Secondary's Wu Qing Kai (boys' 10m air pistol, 232.0 points) and Raffles Girls' School's Tay Li Ann (girls' 10m air pistol, 235.2 points).