Chan arrowing for a gold again
The face of the archery team, Chan's out to defend her title, with less exertion this time
It didn't require any running during competition, so Chan Jing Ru decided to pick up archery.
She joined Temasek Polytechnic's team in 2007, and was shocked to learn she had to run between 2.4km and 5km at least once a week as part of her physical training.
"I felt so cheated when I found out," said a chuckling Chan, when she met The New Paper recently at the national archers' training ground at Queenstown Stadium.
"I was so happy when the focus moved from fitness to technique."
It all worked a treat in the end, when she won the women's recurve event at the 2013 South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Myanmar.
She will be defending her title on home soil next month and, when asked if she is still required to run in training sessions, Chan couldn't hide her grin, although she dropped her voice to a whisper when she noticed coach Choi Mi Jin nearby, simply saying: "No."
Despite her dislike of running, the 25-year-old knows how much it helped her achieve success in her sport.
"You need strength and fitness to be able to draw the bow, and you need endurance to be able to shoot that many arrows - that's how we started off," she said.
"We had to build that foundation and strength, because you won't be able to execute whatever you're being taught if you don't even have strength to pull the bow."
Chan's win at the 2013 Games ended Singapore's 30-year archery gold-medal drought and she says the attention that came her way after the feat was "overwhelming".
"There was just an explosion of questions and reporters and interviews going on," said Chan, who also won a silver medal in the team mixed recurve event with Tan Si Lie two years ago.
"But I didn't feel like I achieved something great, because I just did the best I could and that was the result," she added.
"It could have gone the other way... I could have done my best and still won nothing."
Chan's main focus is on perfecting her technique as she bids to retain her gold medal next month.
"I'm not focusing so much on the score, I just want to get my form and technique stabilised," she said.
"As long as I've got the right form and technique, I'll naturally shoot well."
National coach Choi agreed.
She has been happy with the 16-strong archery team's preparations.
Refusing to talk about medal targets, Choi, 42, said: "I told them to just try for a new personal best score. You can't blame them if they don't win a medal despite hitting a personal best.
"But if they put up a lousy performance and yet still manage a medal, everyone will attribute it to luck."
The South Korean, who was a gold medallist at the 1996 Asian Championships, has over 30 years of experience in the sport.
Apart from trying to ensure the archers stay injury-free, Choi has been working on the mental element, with her charges having to cope with the pressure of performing at home.
She said: "The equipment and techniques have already been settled, now all that's left is how to help them cope with nerves.
"I always encourage them to talk it out with one another.
"Pressure is not something they can run away from. They should instead learn to enjoy it and, hopefully, it will give them the confidence to perform well."
Chan, who is doing graduate studies in biological sciences at the National University of Singapore (NUS), is the biggest name in the team.
"It's only natural that there will be more pressure, because the SEA Games is on home ground and there will be more support from everyone," said Chan.
"I want to do the country and my fellow Singaporeans proud, so I'll just do my best and I hope it will be good enough."