SINGAPORE — She calls it the biggest tournament of her shooting career to date — even trumping the two Olympic Games she has taken part in so far — but national shooter Jasmine Ser insists her participation at October’s International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup final in New Delhi, India, will not distract her from next month’s South-East Asian (SEA) Games.
The 26-year-old is only the third Singaporean to have qualified for the World Cup final, with Martina Veloso and Teo Shun Xie also achieving this feat in 2014 and last year, respectively.
The tournament is open only to the top eight shooters at this year’s World Cup series, all medallists from the most recent Olympics, as well as the defending champions of the World Shooting championships and last year’s World Cup final.
Ser booked her spot in the final following her impressive displays in the World Cup series this year.
The National University of Singapore graduate won silver in the 50m rifle three positions (3P) event in New Delhi in February, before clinching bronze in the 10m air rifle four months later.
Having qualified for the final in both events, Ser says she is excited about making her long-awaited debut in the tournament.
“This is the biggest tournament of my life so far,” Ser told TODAY. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to take part in but never had the chance to until now.
“The shooters in the final are all of a very high calibre, and it’ll be a huge challenge for me, but I’m eager to test myself against some of the best in the world.”
But with the World Cup final still three months away, Ser’s immediate priority will be the SEA Games,
She won one gold, three silver and one bronze at the previous Games on home soil, but is entered in only two events this year — the 50m rifle 3P and the 10m air rifle.
While the SEA Games may not be as prestigious as the World Cup final or the Olympics, Ser says she will still accord it her fullest attention, and has promised to put in her best effort at the regional tournament.
“I had a World Cup competition just before the previous SEA Games two years ago, and so my focus was mostly on that,” admitted the veteran of five SEA Games.
“This year, however, I’m going to put the SEA Games as my priority and execute every shot to the best of my ability in KL.
“This will also help to keep me sharp for the World Cup final. Every SEA Games has provided special memories for me, and I’m sure that this year’s competition will be no different.”
However, when asked what her targets for KL, Ser remained tight-lipped.
“I’m just going to focus on my technique for every shot and not think about the results or medals,” she said.
“Previously, I subconsciously placed the expectations that people had of me on my shoulders, and this affected my performance in tournaments.
“But now, with much more experience, I’ve come to realise that it’s my own expectations that are important because ultimately, I am answerable to myself.
“When I stopped focusing on what other people expected of me, I began to post much better results. That is why while my goal is on the process itself … I’m going to KL to enjoy every single minute of the competition and not worry myself about medal targets.”
Even though Ser may have five previous SEA Games under her belt, she believes this year’s edition will still prove to be a challenge for her, especially as the competition will be using paper targets instead of the more common electronic ones.
“We are currently using electronic targets in our training and for the majority of our competitions,” explained Ser.
“This means we get direct feedback from the computer on our results once we finishing shooting.
“The use of a paper target at the coming SEA Games will make it tougher for us because now we have to wait for the tabulation of the results, and this delay will be a test of how well we keep our concentration.
“But we are preparing for this and getting used to shooting at paper targets.
“I’ll try to look at this change in a positive manner and not let it affect me … it won’t be easy, but I’m sure it’ll be an interesting experience.”