Sailor Cheng and shooter Ser can surprise
Sailor Cheng and shooter Ser good enough to battle the best in Rio
He is a world-class sailor, she is ranked in the top echelon among shooters, but Colin Cheng and Jasmine Ser are not fancied to return to Singapore with a medal from the Olympic Games in Rio next month.
But former national sailor Koh Seng Leong and Jeanine Heng, the high performance manager at the Singapore Shooting Association, both say the duo have what it takes to vie for a spot on the podium.
Koh previously jointly held Singapore's best finish in the Laser Standard at the Olympics, coming in 36th out of 43 boats at the 2008 Beijing Games.
He equalled Ben Tan's position (out of 56 boats) at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Four years ago, Cheng finished in 15th place of out 49 boats at the London Games - the best by an Asian sailor.
Koh believes Cheng, 26, can do even better in Rio.
"I can only imagine he's improved four years on (and) I've been following news that he has been winning a few races," said Koh, 32.
"If he can improve on his placing from the last time round and make it into the top 10 and get into the medal race, he'll have a chance."
In sailing, the medal race offers double points and is reserved for the top 10 sailors heading into the final day of racing.
For shooters Ser (50m rifle 3 Positions & 10m air rifle) and Teo Shun Xie (25m pistol & 10m air pistol), meanwhile, the main challenge is handling pressure.
Said Heng: "The pressure at the Olympics is different, for sure.
"Normally for shooting at the Olympics, scores tend to get lower because of it.
"It could just be someone coming up to you and saying, 'Hey, we're counting on you'.
"If you're experienced enough, you make sure it goes in one ear and goes out the other, as you focus on what you have to do, which is to take everything shot by shot."
Heng pointed to Ser's experience at major events - she has done battle at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games - and Teo's "mental strength" as two reasons for her optimism.
Crucially, Ser also took part in the 2012 Olympics, which will leave her in good stead.
They have both also enjoyed breakthroughs recently, winning at International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup meets.
Ser, 25, won a bronze in the women's 10m air rifle event in the Bangkok leg in March, while 27-year-old Teo won a bronze in the women's 10m air pistol in the Rio leg a month later.
Said Heng: "This year, both Jasmine and Shun Xie medalled at the World Cup.
"I can't say it will definitely happen in Rio, but both are more than capable of shooting a score that can get them into the top eight, and the final round.
"From there, it's all about how they perform in the final."
Koh said mental strength must also be part of Cheng's armoury, as well as physical stamina.
"The key is to focus on your race and try to forget you're at the Olympics," he said.
"Typically, people don't win medals at their first Games.
"Sailing is a multi-race, multi-day event. You may race 12 times across six days.
"Some days you may have good races, some days bad, but it will average out.
"The main thing you need is the stamina to last the mental and physical requirements of those races."