Shooter Teo to quit job and train full-time for Tokyo 2020
National shooter among 15 new recipients of the spexScholarship
Three times a week, national shooter Teo Shun Xie would travel from her office in Commonwealth after work, to Safra Yishun, where she would train for about 90 minutes.
The 28-year-old will spend the better part of her weekends honing her craft at the shooting range in Choa Chu Kang, too.
While the pistol specialist's training load is "less than half" that of a full-time shooter, the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology research officer has achieved results at the regional and international stage in recent years.
Among her recent achievements were winning gold medals in the women's 10m air pistol at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 South-east Asia Games, and qualification for the Rio Olympics last year.
Soon, the soft-spoken athlete will be training full-time, as she works towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Teo was among 15 new recipients of the Sports Excellence (spex) Scholarship yesterday at a ceremony at the National Youth Sports Institute in Kallang.
The scholarship, which includes sports science and medicine support, as well as stipends, will help recipients excel at the Asian, world and Olympic levels.
"(My decision) was partly based on Rio but, also over the past few years, I started to see results and I just want to push myself more," said Teo, who is likely to leave her job after receiving her scholarship.
"There isn't any limit... and I want to push myself further, and hopefully get to the peak, wherever that is."
She had pondered over applying for the support scheme for about a year, but decided to take the plunge to join the fourth batch of spexScholars.
Four new sports - canoe-paddle, diving, para-archery and para-athletics - are represented in the 67-strong programme for the first time, with 20 scholars leaving the programme, either having completed their terms, or having withdrawn from the scheme due to reasons such as retirement.
Yesterday's guest of honour, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, said: "Since the start of 2013, the spexScholarship programme has seen good outcomes in a wide range of sports.
"We are very proud of them, and will continue to support them in their sporting journey.
"With the increase in funding for our HPS (high-performance sports) system, we will help the athletes and the sports raise their game even more."
Sport Singapore's head of performance sports Richard Gordon said that the national sports agency will now move beyond just supporting individual athletes, via spexScholarships or campaign-based funding, to working with national sports associations to build high-performance plans that span one or more Olympic cycles.
He said: "Can we get another Joseph Schooling?
"Yes, we can... We have to make sure that there's longer-term investment and plans.
"Were we thinking about that before? Of course... but it's waiting for the right time, the right moment to move it to the next level."