Fuelled by the cheers from the crowd, Jiang Zixing grappled with his opponent but something was not quite right.
He could not feel the pain as he was pumped up with adrenaline but the Raffles Institution (RI) judoka could not straighten his right ring finger midway through his Schools National A Division extra- lightweight final against schoolmate Tseng Chen Yu yesterday.
Play was halted at Hougang Secondary School but Zixing felt that he could carry on.
Shaking off the discomfort, the 17-year-old brown belt judoka fought back and achieved an ippon to clinch the gold. Only at the end of the final did he realise that he had suffered a dislocation.
Zixing said: "I realised that I underestimated the situation, and it wasn't a light injury at all."
RI's judo coach Eng Han Seng praised him for his strong resilience, saying: "One of his strengths is how calm and collected he is. Zixing's able to analyse the match very quickly and strategise."
Zixing was taken to hospital after his bout, and opponent Chen Yu collected the former's gold medal on his behalf in the prize ceremony.
Chen Yu, who kept checking on Zixing in the medical area after the match, said: "When I saw that Zixing was injured, it wasn't the time for me to attack. It wouldn't have been right to win that way, and I was more concerned for him."
"I hope it's not that serious. We train and have dinner every day. We're not just team-mates but more like brothers."
Hwa Chong Institution clinched both the A Division girls' and B Division boys' championships from defending champions RI. Their medal tally was four golds, two silvers and a bronze, and four golds, three silvers and five bronzes in the two categories respectively.
Nanyang Girls' High School claimed the B division girls' crown with four golds, two silvers and three bronzes. RI did manage to retain their A Division boys' championship with four golds, two silvers and three bronzes.