Shooter Ser hopes patience will pay off for Olympic qualification
With Olympics the target, Ser has crucial Kuwait date
She missed out on Olympic qualification for the 50m rifle by one spot when she finished sixth at the ISSF World Championships in Granada, Spain, last year.
Three weeks before this year's South-east Asia Games here in June, Jasmine Ser once again missed booking a spot for the 2016 Olympics, when she finished seventh overall at the ISSF World Cup in Munich, with the top five qualifying for the Rio Games.
Two weeks ago, at the ISSF World Cup in Gabala, Azerbaijan, Ser, the country's biggest shooting star, missed out again in her third attempt, finishing 10th and losing out on a place in the finals by an agonising "inner 10" on the target.
They say patience is a virtue, and Ser, who was rewarded for being part of the women's 10m air rifle team that won gold at the SEA Games through the Multi-Million Dollar Awards Programme (MAP) Awards last night, can definitely attest to that.
"Patience is applicable in any sport, but especially so in shooting," said the 24-year-old, who was crowned Sportswoman of the Year earlier this month.
"When you're not doing well, that's when it's really important. You have to keep working at improving all the time.
"Once you get frustrated and complain, you're not working - this can't be taught, it's something you learn along the way."
Ser teamed up with Tessa Neo and Martina Lindsay Veloso to win SEA Games gold this year and the trio will share the $15,000 reward they received last night.
She had an impressive 2014, especially at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games where she set a record en route to gold in the 50m three positions. She also finished fourth at the 2014 Asian Games 10m air rifle and 50m three positions.
She first revealed her special talent at just 17 years old in 2006, when she bagged a silver medal in the 10m air rifle at the Asian Games in Doha.
Ser and Martina will have one last chance to qualify for next year's Olympics this November at the Asian Shooting Championships in Kuwait.
If she makes it to Brazil, it will be her second Games, having also competed in 2012 in London, where she finished 24th and 29th in the 10m air rifle and 50m rifle respectively.
"The 2012 Olympics was a real eye opener for me. It was very different from normal shooting competitions," said Ser, who trains six times a week for an average of seven hours a day.
"The atmosphere, the crowd; that day shooting actually became a spectator sport.
"So at the next Olympics, I'll know what to expect. Everything I do now is all working towards that."
For 15-year-old Martina, a place in Rio will be a bonus at this juncture of her career.
The teenager had a breakthrough 2014 which saw her compete in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the Youth Olympic Games, where she won a silver in the 10m air rifle.
After winning her first SEA Games gold medal in June, she was named Sportsgirl of the Year in 2014.
"My main goal is the 2020 Olympics. Rio will be a bonus for me, but I'd like to be there to get a first-hand experience," said Martina, who finished 36th at the most recent ISSF World Cup in Azerbaijan.
"I didn't do too well at the last event. I think I let the pressure get to me. The Asian Champs in Kuwait is our last chance, so I'll just have to push all distractions aside and focus."
"We have seen new milestones set by our athletes such as Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen since the SEA Games. Well done, and I hope it inspires more athletes to aspire to greater things."
- SNOC president Tan Chuan-Jin
Time to reward S'pore's world champions too
Even as a cool $1 million was disbursed to 183 gold medallists in June's SEA Games on home soil under the Multi-Million Dollar Award Programme (MAP) last night, athletes and administrators agreed that those who medal at world championships should also be recognised in some way.
Currently, the MAP Awards reward athletes who win medals at the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and SEA Games - major competitions sanctioned by the Singapore National Olympic Council.
Singapore swimmers Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen were the biggest winners last night when they each received $31,250 after their exploits at the SEA Games.
But Schooling (above), 20, will not receive any monetary reward for his stunning bronze medal in the 100m butterfly at the world championships in Kazan, Russia, last month.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Team Singapore Appreciation dinner last night at Orchard Hotel, the butterfly sprint star said: "A lot of hard work and a lot of money have been spent (including by my parents) to get me to where I am today.
"I'm lucky with the MAP Awardsthat sponsors have chipped in for Team Singapore, but it would be nice if achievements at the world champs are recognised, too.
"Any chance to win more money would be nice to cover the expenses we incur as we strive for greater heights in our various sports."
Singapore athletes have tasted success in world championships in bowling, cuesports, silat, table tennis and wushu.
It is understood that the various National Sports Associations (NSAs) may reward their athletes privately.
SEA Games English billiards singles champion Peter Gilchrist, who won the WPBSA World Championships in 1994, 2001 and 2013, also called for recognition for the rare moments when local athletes set world records.
The 47-year-old set a world record break of 1,346 in 2007, and said last night: "It would definitely be a big boost for the local sports scene if those who do well at world championships are recognised and rewarded.
"I understand there could be different versions of world championships or world cups in different sports, but these could be spelt out before the awards are considered."
The MAP Awards, which are backed by the Tote Board, Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club, give out the biggest amounts for Olympic success, with an individual gold medallist in line to receive $1 million.
Singapore Bowling Federation Jessie Phua agreed that the time had come to set up an award for those who medal at the various world championships.
Phua added: "I have always felt that our athletes who make a mark at the world level, outside of those already covered by the MAP Awards, should also be recognised.
"But these should be for only established and recognised world championships.
"For sports that have multiple world championships, the NSAs would have the knowledge to nominate just one for consideration of any rewards to maintain the exclusivity and prestige of the awards."
With the Rio Olympics a year away, the likes of Schooling and the country's world-class table tennis players will stand a chance to be rewarded again under the MAP Awards Programme.
Schooling, who was also the top earner when the awards were given out for the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games, won six individual golds and three relay golds at this year's Games, while Quah had four individual golds and also took part in the three relays.
Fellow swimmers Tao Li ($23,750), Quah Ting Wen and Amanda Lim ($21,250 each), and table tennis player Gao Ning ($20,500), were other top earners last night.
WHO GETS WHAT
- Zhang Guirong (women's shot put) - $10,000
- Shanti Pereira (women's 200m) - $10,000
- Soh Rui Yong (men's marathon) - $10,000
BILLIARDS & SNOOKER
- Peter Gilchrist (men's English Billiards singles (500), men's English Billiards singles) - $15,000
- Daphne Tan (women's singles) - $10,000
- Jazreel Tan (women's Masters) - $10,000
- Men's doubles team - $15,000
- Women's trios - $15,000
- Lucas Teo (men's K1-1,000m) - $10,000
- Brandon Ooi, Bill Lee (men's K2-1,000m) - $15,000
- Stephenie Chen (women's K1-500m) - $10,000
- Sarah Chen (women's K1-200m) - $10,000
- Mervyn Toh (men's K1-200m) - $10,000
- Women's K4-500m - $15,000
- Women's K2-500m - $15,000
- Jumping Team - $15,000
- Men's team - $30,000
- Women's team - $30,000
- Wang Wenying (women's individual foil) - $10,000
- Women's team foil - $15,000
- Men's Team Foil - $15,000
- Rhythmic (Group All-Around) - $15,000
- Women's Team - $30,000
- Bernie Chin (laser radial (U-19) - $10,000
- Colin Cheng (laser standard) - $10,000
- Audrey Yong (female windsurfing RSX) - $10,000
- Darren Choy/Jeremiah Yeo (Male 470) - $15,000
- Jodie Lai (U-16 Optimist) - $10,000
- Female Skiff 49erFX team - $15,000
- Female Youth 420 (U-19) team - $15,000
- Male fleet racing keelboat - $15,000
- Female fleet racing keelboat - $15,000
- Female match racing keelboat - $15,000
- Muhammad Alfian Juma'en (men's Tanding Class F) - $10,000
- Vivian Rhamanan/Marcus Phua (men's Jumbo doubles) - $15,000
- Jasmine Ser/Tessa Neo/Martina Lindsay Veloso (women's 10m air rifle team) - $15,000
- Tessa Neo (women's 10m air rifle) - $10,000
- Teo Shun Xie (women's 10m air pistol) - $10,000
- Men's 50m pistol team - $15,000
- Men's trap team - $15,000
- Team Technical and Free Routine - $15,000
- Team Free Combination - $15,000
- Joseph Schooling (100m free, 50m free, 200m fly) - $20,000
- Quah Zheng Wen (100m back, 200m back, 400m IM) - $20,000
- Quah Ting Wen (women's 100m free) - $10,000
- Tao Li (50m fly, 50m back, 100m back) - $20,000
- Roanne Ho (50m breast) - $10,000
- Amanda Lim (50m free) - $10,000
- Women's 4x100m freestyle relay team - $15,000
- Women's 4x200m freestyle relay team - $15,000
- Men's 4x100m freestyle relay team - $15,000
- Men's 4x200m freestyle relay team - $15,000
- Men's 4x100m medley relay team - $15,000
- Women's 4x100m medley relay team - $15,000
- Chelsea Ann Sim (women's individual poomsae) - $10,000
- Kang Rui Jie (men's individual poomsae) - $10,000
- Lin Ye/Zhou Yihan (women's doubles) - $15,000
- Gao Ning/Li Hu (men's doubles) - $15,000
- Yang Zi/Yu Mengyu (mixed doubles) - $15,000
- Gao Ning (men's singles) - $10,000
- Women's team - $15,000
- Men's Team - $15,000
- Men's team - $30,000
- Lee Tze Yuan (men's taijiquan) - $10,000
- Vera Tan (women's taijiquan) - $10,000
- Yong Yi Xiang (men's changquan) - $10,000
- Zoe Mui (women's changquan) - $10,000
- Men's duel event (weapons) - $15,000
- Men's duel event (barehand) - $15,000
- Sasha Christian (women's wakeboard, women's slalom) - $15,000
- Mark Leong (men's slalom) - $10,000