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Shooting: More young Singapore shooters hitting the mark

In a first for Singapore, shooters won gold medals in two world-class events this year, the ISSF World Cup and the IWK International Air Gun Competition, both held in Munich, Germany.

SINGAPORE: It's bullseye on the Singapore shooting scene, with more young talents hitting the mark.

In a first for Singapore, shooters won gold medals in two world-class events this year, the ISSF World Cup and the IWK International Air Gun Competition, both held in Munich, Germany.

One of the reasons for the improvement is the increased support from schools.

When Ms Teh Xiu Yi was younger, she was fascinated by her elder sister's stories about taking part in national shooting competitions.

It spurred her to join the shooting club at West Spring Secondary School.

Ms Teh was only 13 then and found it convenient to train in school.

"After school, I can just go to the range and practise and train over there. It saves me time and I can do my work in school and find a teacher when I need help," she said.

Students like Ms Teh also do not have to pay for coaching or to use the equipment.

It's no wonder that shooting has become a popular co-curricular activity at West Spring Secondary School, with the shooting club boasting 100 members.

Mr Kelvin Poon, Head of Department of Physical Education at West Spring Secondary School, said: "Our school shooters were doing very well in the MOE (Ministry of Education) shooting competition consistently for a few years. The students were exemplary in their discipline and we wanted to share this character with the rest of the students."

West Spring Secondary School is one of over 50 schools that offer shooting as a co-curricular activity.

This gives the Singapore Shooting Association (SSA) a broad base to select its shooters from.

And the results are telling.

Ms Teh was selected for the National Youth Team in 2011 and currently trains at SAFRA Yishun.

Now a Ngee Ann Polytechnic student studying electrical engineering, she won a silver medal at the Asian Youth Games last year.

Her team-mates clinched a silver and a bronze, improving on the 2009 Asian Youth Games where the team won a solitary bronze.

To better groom young talents, the SSA raised the standards for its national youth team selection.

The team now has 64 shooters, down from 85 two years ago.

By doing so, the SSA hopes to concentrate more resources on these shooters.

Ms Jeanine Heng, High Performance Manager at SSA, said: "Overseas competitions will then be another area where we will try to get them to experience that at a younger age, so that when they get to the national team, if they have to go to the Commonwealth Games or Asian Games, they won't be so shocked at the expense of that."

The association's next target is the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, in August 2014.

It hopes the team will do well and secure a place in the finals.

It is also targeting six gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games in June next year. 

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