The atmosphere was tense. The first doubles just won their game. The third singles pulled a miracle comeback win. It’s a 2-2 tie. The second doubles are serving at match point.
And then we won gold. And made history.
The result of intense, whole-year trainings which we committed heart and soul to. Many of us started off not knowing how to properly hold a racket and yet there we were receiving our gold medals; a shiny upgrade from our silver last year. Our growth as a team in SEASAC has been exponential: 7th in 2013 (our first ever SEASAC), 4th in 2014, 2nd in 2015 and finally 1st in 2016.
Our first day in SEASAC 2016 went surprisingly smoothly. Cruising with 5-0 and 4-1 wins over Garden International School and the hosts UWCSEA Dover respectively, we were given a nail-biting fight against the 15-time champions Ruamrudee International School (RIS). We somehow managed to pull a 3-2 upset, setting us up for the 1st position in the group stage.
We solidified our lead on the second day after our wins against the newcomers NIST International School and badminton powerhouse Canadian International School, leading up to a semi-final showdown vs Dover.
The hosts showed remarkable fighting spirit. We lost our first and third singles game, took our second singles and first doubles. Although the second doubles had previously defeated the host’s pair quite convincingly, the tenacity to never give up meant that the deciding game was extremely close.
We went into the finals against RIS on Sunday with nothing to lose. Having reached our target of a finals appearance, we were determined to fight with everything we had.
The pressure was on us right from the outset. Playing brilliant badminton, the opposing 1st and 2nd singles handed RIS a 2-0 lead; any more lost on our side would mean silver. Our 1st doubles managed to edge out their counterpart in a nail-biting 3-set game. Our 3rd singles, the youngest in the team, was third set down against one of the most experienced SEASAC players. As the 2nd doubles started, I heard a roar erupt from our side: we’ve won our third singles.
The deciding 2nd doubles was remarkably straightforward. The result is that after over a decade, the plaque is finally back in Singapore!