Asian Games: Impatience costs Lim

Asian Games: Impatience costs Lim

There are shrill yelps, but no pumped fists.

Indeed, smiles are rarely spotted, even after sending a bullet straight and true to its intended destination.

Stillness, both of mind and body, is revered in the sport of shooting.

Which is why when Lim Swee Hon tilted his head to one side and sighed after his ninth shot in the men's 50m pistol finals of the Incheon Asian Games, it was evident that something was wrong.

Lim shot a poor 7.3 points, but immediately redeemed himself with a 10.3 the next time he pulled his trigger, but a sliver of doubt had been allowed to seep into the sanctuary of the still mind.

And once in, doubt morphs. You can hear it, smell it, even feel it tingling in your fingers.

"Everything suddenly looked scary, and I was nervous. The gun was shaking more than it usually does and I thought I'd be brave and decisive (with my next shot)," said Lim. "But it backfired."

He shot a disastrous 4.4, tilted his head and sighed again. The 35-year-old scored 10.5 in his next shot but, doubt and the 4.4, had already done the damage.

He was eliminated from the eight-man final on 109.4 points, falling out in sixth position.

India's Jitu Rai won the gold with 186.2, while Vietnam's Nguyen Hoang Phuong took silver (183.4) and China's Wang Zhiwei (165.6) the bronze.

"I lost focus and got impatient with that shot," concluded Lim, a coach with the Singapore Sports School.

But this is his first Asian Games final appearance and also his first attempt at the competitive elimination format of shooting finals that see the lowest-scoring shooter eliminated after eight shots, and another after each subsequent pair of shots.

"I have not been in good form recently, and have to say that I am quite satisfied," he added.

Lim's teammates - Gai Bin (544) and Poh Lip Meng (553) finished 25th and 13th respectively, out of 47 competitors in the earlier qualifiers, and failed to make the final.

Before the men stepped into the competitive arena in South Korea, Singapore's women shooters lined up in the 10m pistol event and, like Gai and Poh, all three women - Teh Xiu Hong (381), Teo Shun Xie (377) and Nicole Tan (372) - failed to make the final, finishing 10th, 16th and 26th respectively.

China's Zheng Mengyuan (202.2) claimed the gold - the first of the 17th Asiad - while local hotshot Jung Jee Hae won silver (201.3) and India's Shweta Chaudhry (176.4) took bronze.

But the outlook is not all gloomy. Teh replicated, in a competitive environment, her best training score, while Tan matched her average score achieved in overseas competition.

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Teo said: "I'm disappointed because I think I could have done better."

This article was first published on Sept 21, 2014.
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