TOKYO: 50 shooters, 60 shots, eight spots in the finals.
The margins are tiny but the pressure is high at any shooting competition, let alone the Olympic Games.
So it is no wonder that Singapore shooter Adele Tan used the word “battle” to describe her Games debut at the Asaka Shooting Range on Saturday (Jul 24).
Tan finished 21st in the qualifiers of women’s 10m air rifle on Saturday, marking the best finish for Singapore in the event at a Games.
Prior to Tan’s performance, Singapore’s best showing was a 24th place finish by Jasmine Ser in 2012.
Tan finished with a total of 625.3 points, shy of her personal best of 632.5.
While Norwegian Jeanette Hegg Duestad topped the qualification, China’s Yang Qian would go on to win the finals of the event later on Saturday, clinching the first gold of the Games.
“I have to be very honest and say that this is probably the toughest qualification that I’ve had to battle. Not just shoot, it is literally a battle,” she told reporters after the event.
“It was a battle in a sense that, everyone here is world class - every, every single one you see … and anyone can make it to the finals. So I think everyone is really fighting very hard emotionally because at the Olympics is not so much about technical skills anymore.”
Instead, it is about controlling the emotions and conquering “inner demons”, said Tan.
“I felt that today, actually, looking back, I'm quite satisfied with how I carried myself. Although, of course, there still room for improvement.”
And Tan had to still her nerves after a first shot that only saw her score 9.9.
“The first shot - to be honest before the competition - I told myself I have to be patient and kind with myself,” she said.
“So I gave myself room for error, because I don't want to force myself to perfection. So even when it came up, I wasn't frustrated or angry with myself. I told myself I have to take some time off.”
This was reflected in her scores thereafter, as she would not post a lower score than her first shot in the hour of competition.
Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, who is also the Singapore National Olympic Council president, said that while she did not advance to the finals, he is "certain there is more to come from her in the years ahead".
"I think many of us will crack at having to deal with the pressures that come with sports like shooting," said Mr Tan in a Facebook post.
"Adele shared with me that she has been shooting for 10-11 years now and she is all of 22! Our shooting has really come some ways and it’s exciting to see new talent competing to represent Singapore," said Mr Tan.
Tan, who had won a gold medal in the same event at the H&N Cup in Munich two years ago, shot scores of 104.1 104.7 103.7, 104.3, 104.6 and 103.9.
And while she failed to qualify, she noted that the result bode well for Singapore shooting.
“The way I see it, we are slowly improving, we are slowly inching closer. So yes, I'm happy with my ranking 21 - it is the highest qualification so far and I'm very confident in our Singapore shooters, not me just me alone,” she added.
“They are really, really, really good shooters.”
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