SINGAPORE - He blamed himself when the Singapore Sports School (SSP) lost the Schools National C Division badminton final last year to Anglo-Chinese School (Independent).
The scores had been tied at 2-2 and Ryan Tan had been called to play the deciding match. But the then 13-year-old succumbed to the pressure and lost the match.
But he refused to lose his resolve, vowing that he would come back stronger this year.
He did just that to lead SSP to a 4-1 win over Raffles Institution in this year's final at the OCBC Arena on Thursday (April 12).
It was one of four titles that SSP won yesterday as the traditional powerhouses made a clean sweep of all four B and C Division titles contested - a feat last accomplished in 2016.
In the girls' finals, SSP beat Raffles Girls' School (RGS) in both divisions with the same 4-1 scoreline.
The girls clinched their sixth and fourth straight C and B crowns respectively.
The B boys edged out ACS(I) 5-0 for their fifth straight title.
Ryan, who dreams of playing for Singapore one day, said: "It was very stressful for me last year and I was very demoralised after my match, the team lost because of me."
He attributed last year's defeat to his lack of competition exposure which meant he was unable to handle the pressure effectively.
"After I lost the match last year, I trained extra hard to prepare for this year," said Ryan, who is now the captain of the C Division boys' team.
"Now that I'm older and have more experience competing, I feel more confident. I'm very happy we got it (the title) back, this year is our year," added the 14-year-old, who won the third singles 21-17, 21-18 against RI's Aloysius Tan.
While SSP continue to exert their dominance on the badminton court, RGS' B Division captain Ashley Lim believes they are not unbeatable.
"I think if we continue to train hard and play our best it's possible to win them. It's anyone's game during the competition," said the Secondary 4 student.
ACS(I) B Division captain Jacob Tan was proud of his team for making the final, having last won the title in 1998.
"We knew we were the underdogs coming into this match and we just wanted to put up a good fight. We gave our best, but they were still the better team," said the Sec 3 student.