Singapore shooters can achieve Olympic success
Singapore have the facilities and talent to go far in shooting, says India's first individual Olympic gold medallist Bindra
With top-class training facilities and promising talent, there is no reason why Singapore cannot produce an Olympic champion in shooting.
That is the view of India's first individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, who met 35 athletes and coaches - bound for the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur in August - at the Singapore Sports Institute yesterday.
"The athletes (in Singapore) are lucky individuals. They have access to a lot of good facilities and a lot of good back-up," said retired shooter Bindra, who won the gold medal in the men's 10m air rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"In my country, we don't have facilities like these. You have fantastic facilities.
"Also, Singapore have a lot of talented young shooters such as Jasmine (Ser) and Martina (Veloso).
"I think that the people of Singapore must back their athletes to the fullest.
"Being behind the athletes would mean a lot to them.
"When they have that external motivation and positivity, I believe that it will propel them to further success."
The athletes (in Singapore) are lucky individuals. They have access to a lot of good facilities and a lot of good back-up.India’s Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra
Martina, 17, won the gold medal in the women's 10m air rifle event at the 2014 ISSF World Cup in Munich.
Ser, 26, shot her way to a second-placed finish in the women's 50m rifle three positions event at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi this year after a disappointing showing at the 2016 Rio Olympics where she failed to qualify for the finals of the women's 10m air rifle and the 50m rifle three positions events.
Both shooters are vying for internal selection at the upcoming SEA Games.
So what does it take to become an Olympic champion?
First, the 34-year-old Bindra said that a shooter must conquer his biggest enemy.
"In shooting, you are competing with yourself," said Bindra, who became a world champion at the 2006 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Shooting Championships in Croatia, two years before his Olympic triumph.
"You are your biggest enemy.
"The battle is really internal and you have to get the best out of yourself. That is the biggest challenge in the sport.
Besides self-belief and tough mental strength, it also takes a lot of hard work and determination to succeed at the highest level.
"It takes persistence, loads of hard work, and determination every single day," said the CEO of health and fitness company Abhinav Futuristics.
Bindra also urged the athletes to take losing in their stride.
"In a sports career, you will have more failure than success and that is normal. But you have to learn to look at success and failure with a sense of balance," he said.
"Winning is great - we want to win all the time, but it may not be possible to do so.
"But, when you lose, you don't give up. You keep trying and get better.
"Shooting is an eternal pursuit. You try to get better every day and on every shot."