Early mistakes costly for Ser
Singapore shooter Ser finishes a disappointing 25th, trains her focus now on pet event
REPORTING FROM RIO
The day started like any other day here for her at the Games Village, except that this time it was different.
As she woke up early yesterday morning, the routine may have been the same but she would have felt different.
The heart would have pumped a little faster, the mind would have a million things racing through it, the nerves would continue to build.
Later, at the Olympic Shooting Centre, Jasmine Ser went through the same routine practised all week long at the range, in Lane 10, with 15 minutes of preparation time, before the 8.30am start.
But this was not a training session.
Yesterday, Singapore ace Ser began her Olympic campaign in the women's 10m air rifle qualification series, aiming to make the final eight and the battle for medals.
After nearly an hour, she finished 25th out of 51 shooters.
But, speaking later, she said, "I'm okay, guys," accompanied by a big grin.
I could feel the sense of loss, though.
"It's been a long time since I've felt like this, since the 2012 Olympics," she continued.
"Good I collected myself and shot better at the end."
The hope is she can channel whatever came over her at the end when she lines up for her pet event on Thursday - the 50m 3 rifles position.
Because yesterday, the pressure told.
She chalked up a score of 104.2 in her fourth and final series -- only eight markswomen were deadlier.
But her first and third series were especially poor, and costly.
The 25-year-old opened with a 102.6 and the third was a 102.8, sandwiching an acceptable 103.9.
Her Russian coach Kirill Ivanov rued the early mistakes, but said: "Of course there's stress.
"The World Cup is a little lower than this. The pressure here (at the Olympics) is more than the World Championships, even."
Ser also talked about the mistakes at the start and how they proved costly.
Only experts would have been able to spot what they were and 55-year-old Ivanov, an Olympic medallist, spoke of how his pupil's shoulders were erratically high, or low.
The kinks would have to be ironed out, he acknowledged.
"We have another competition so we will work on this. Our best is the 3 positions and we'll now get ready," he added.
Ser will take a break to recharge before going through another routine for her next event, in four days' time.
She said: "I was ready today. My favourite is the 3 positions but I was focused today and just made some mistakes."
I asked her how she would take her mind away from it all, even for a little while.
She paused for a long time, and then said: "I will read my book."
Something on fantasy, which would work.
Ser was among 51 athletes who battled for the first medals of the 2016 Olympic Games yesterday.
She said it was a privilege to be in such company, the best of the best.
She will be up against the very best again on Thursday.
When her heart will once again pump faster, the mind will have a million things racing through it, and the nerves will continue to build.
She will need to overcome them all, to avoid crushing disappointment at these Games.
Acknowledging what looms ahead, she said: "Someone asked me earlier if this was a kind of warm-up for me.
"Like I said, I was focused and ready today, but early mistakes cost me.
"But at least I'm warmed up now."