Comeback queen

Comeback queen
Teo Shun Xie’s fighting spirit gets her to the top of the podium.

Once again, she found herself with her back against the wall, on the brink of elimination.

Once again, Singaporean shooter Teo Shun Xie displayed tremendous mental strength to fight her way to a podium finish, as she won the Republic's first medal - a gold in the women's 10-metre air pistol event at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow yesterday.

"I'm honoured to win the first gold medal for Singapore at this Games," the 26-year-old told The New Paper in a phone interview.

Teo produced her first storming comeback at last year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games, when she clawed her way from last to a historic silver medal in the same event.

At the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre yesterday, Teo went one better as she won the event with a Games record score of 198.6, despite a poor start in the first two series and languishing in the bottom two after the sixth and seventh series.

In benign conditions, the research officer with the Agency of Science, Technology and Research overcame her initial nerves to overtake India's Malaika Goel and claim an unlikely triumph.

Canada's Dorothy Ludwig took the bronze.

"I was discouraged for a moment, but I knew I had to stick to my game plan and stay focused for the remaining shots," said Teo. "I'm glad my perseverance managed to get me through to the last shot and I won."

In the qualifying round earlier in the day, she had finished fifth out of 28 shooters with a score of 377 to progress to the final.

But, under a new format, the eight finalists no longer carry forward their scores but start from zero instead.

In the final, the eight athletes go for two series of three shots each, before the subsequent series begin with two shots each. The maximum score for each shot is 10.9.

The lowest-scoring shooter will be eliminated after the third series onwards, until the final two fight for the gold medal in the ninth and final series. In her athlete profile, Teo had said: "What attracts me to the sport is the intense mental discipline and focus needed to achieve consistency, which is in turn required to produce results."

And boy, did she practise what she preach.

From the fifth to the eight series, Teo attained scores of 20.6, 20.3, 20.6 and 20.7 (out of a possible 21.8). Some of those high scores were required to avoid elimination. With just three shooters left, she shot a 20.7 in the eighth series to surge past Goel and take the lead for good.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong was impressed with Teo's tenacity after taking in the action from the Games Village. He said: "We are very proud of Shun Xie. Congratulations to her and we are very happy for her, particularly the way she won it.

RESILIENCE

"She was initially sixth and fought all the way to the top. That shows tremendous resilience and confidence to keep fighting and persevering.

"We hope this victory will inspire other Singaporean athletes to keep up their fighting spirit and do their very best throughout the Games."

Next up for Teo is the 25m sports pistol event and she knows she cannot afford to rest on her laurels.

She said: "I want to thank my family, friends, colleague and the Singapore Shooting Association for their continuous support, as well as the Team Singapore supporters back home.

"I'll definitely celebrate with my family when I get back, but now is not the time because I still have my next event to train and prepare for.

"I will continue to persevere and work hard to achieve more glory for Singapore."

davidlee@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on July 26, 2014.
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