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Shamir Osman
Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014

Sports

Sports School star makes history at World Cup shooting event

The New Paper | Shamir Osman | Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014

Trailblazer, trendsetter, unruffled sharpshooter.

Martina Lindsay Veloso wrote her name into the history books of Singapore shooting last year at the tender age of 13, becoming the first person from the Republic to achieve a perfect score of 400 in the women's 10m air rifle.

She pipped shooting's golden girl, Jasmine Ser (399), to the record.

And, in keeping with the same ground-breaking spirit, the Singapore Sports School student (above and inset) yesterday became the nation's first shooter to win a World Cup event.

At the ISSF World Cup (Rifle) in Munich, Germany, yesterday, Martina, now 14, beat 2008 Olympic Games gold medal winner Katerina Emmons to the title, her score of 206.9 just pipping the 30-year-old Czech by 0.3 points.

Serbia's Andrea Arsovic finished a distant third with 184.6 points.

Speaking after her win yesterday, a delighted Martina said: "Beating Katerina Emmons is a big deal for me. But I just stuck to what my coach, Lim Chea Rong, always told me, 'Don't be distracted. Stay focused'.

"When I found out that I had won, I was really shocked."

It was equally shocking to those who have watched Martina's meteoric rise, but there were already signs of her potential.

"We didn't really expect this, and I don't think her coach expected this, either," gushed shooting's high performance manager, Jeanine Heng.

POTENTIAL

"But Martina has shown potential when she's been in high-pressure final situations. Every shot counts, and Martina has shown that she can handle that kind of pressure well."

There are four World Cup events each year, and the world championships - a tournament that will bestow upon its winner the title of world champion - takes place once every four years.

"Martina is very young and we don't want to put too much pressure on her, this is only her second World Cup event," said Heng.

"But this performance is an indication that she has technical ability, and she is going somewhere."

Ser is the only other Singaporean to qualify for the final of a World Cup event. She qualified for the final in three events, but has not managed a podium finish.

Martina has a packed second half of 2014, with the Commonwealth Games, Youth Olympic Games, Asian Games and the World Championships all ahead of her.

"This bodes well for us because the world championships that takes place before the Asian Games (Sept 19 to Oct 4), will serve as the first Olympic qualifier for the sport," said Heng.

"Expectations will build up, along with pressure, and it is something Martina is acutely aware of."

Said Martina: "With this win, expectations will rise. The responsibility to always shoot well becomes heavier.

"I will have to work harder to fly the Singapore flag high."


This article was first published on June 9, 2014.
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