This time last year, Martina Lindsay Veloso had just turned 14, and was preparing herself for her rookie season on the international elite shooting circuit.
After a highly-successful year, and with another potentially big season ahead of her, all this young shooter hopes for now is some simplicity.
"It's been a very crazy year - the busiest I've had," the World Cup champion said yesterday.
"My career has just started and I'm really glad to have made it this far at such a young age.
"I'm just hoping to compete in the SEA Games next year because it's going to be at home."
The Singapore Sports School student received a sports scholarship worth $25,000 yesterday for winning silver in the women's 10m air rifle event in August's Youth Olympic Games (YOG).
Sailors Bernie Chin and Samantha Yom, who won Singapore's first YOG gold medals (men's and women's Byte CII), were awarded with $50,000 each, while silver medallist shooter Teh Xiu Yi received $20,000 for teaming up with Egyptian Mohamed Ahmed to win silver in the 10m air pistol mixed international team event.
The scholarships are sponsored by NTUC FairPrice Foundation, and can be used for the athletes' school or tuition fees, equipment, or other training-related costs.
Singapore was represented at the Nanjing Games by 18 athletes across eight sports.
Despite a year which included the highs of winning a World Cup title and making the final of the Commonwealth Games, Martina said her memories from the YOG remain closest to her heart.
She said: "It's really a once-in-a-lifetime thing, since I won't be able to compete in the next one because of the age limit.
"It was really good that I was able to go for all these competitions this year so that I can gain exposure and do better in future."
Bernie is also hoping to bank on the experience picked up at the YOG to make a run for next year's SEA Games.
Now training on the Laser Radial class, he said: "It's been a fruitful year, and I hope that I will be able to represent Singapore at another major Games."
Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin, who is also president of the Singapore National Olympic Council, was the guest of honour at the scholarship ceremony and appreciation event yesterday.
He applauded the contingent for their efforts.
He said: "When you're competing, your sole purpose is to fly the Singapore flag as best as you can.
"All these things (scholarships) are fringe benefits, but small ways of recognising your efforts and supporting your endeavours."
This article was first published on Nov 1, 2014.
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