She might have been wearing a huge grin as she emerged a SEA Games champion in the women's 10m air pistol individual competition yesterday.
But for Teo Shun Xie, the win was even more poignant after a roller-coaster year since her surprise Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow last July.
Battling a jumble of emotions as she spoke to the media, the 26-year-old dedicated her latest gold to her father, who died in a home accident after witnessing her Commonwealth win.
"Everyone had to cope with the passing of my dad and it was quite difficult especially because he was a big pillar of support," she said. "This gold is special, firstly because it was won on home soil, and also because it is dedicated to my father."
Nevertheless, Teo insisted that her training was not affected, and the support of her family and friends had driven her to yesterday's achievement.
Together with her long-time team-mates Nicole Tan and Teh Xiu Hong, she had helped clinch a team bronze in her discipline, as they scored a total of 1,121 points to finish behind gold winners Thailand (1,134) and second-placed Malaysia (1,125).
Teo qualified for the individual final in fifth (378 points) together with Tan (sixth with 376 points). Teh finished 14th with 367 points.
Just like her Glasgow triumph, Teo had to mount a late surge to the top, despite increasing pressure as shooters were being eliminated.
Yet, there was nothing random about her comeback - the soft-spoken Teo simply relied on her a stoic calmness, an ideal trait for this high-pressure situation.
"I just treated every shot as a shot in itself, without forcing any results.
"Any medal's a bonus," she said simply.
While Tan bowed out early in the individual final with 134 points in fifth place, Teo steadily remained in the top three positions throughout.
An early high score of 10.7 drew a roar of approval from the home crowd but it was soon followed by two consecutive 9.0s, her lowest points in that match.
Unfazed, Teo steadied herself and hit four consecutive bull's eyes to catch up with the leading Thai shooter Pim-On Klaisuban with two shots left.
Last two shots, and Teo hit an impressive 10.5 and 10.6, while the Thai wilted, shooting 9.9 and 9.6 to cede the gold to the Singaporean, as the crowd broke into loud cheers.
The Republic's male shooters did not fare as well in the same discipline.
While the trio of Gai Bin, Poh Lip Meng and Nigel Lim also finished with a bronze (1,693 points) behind winners Vietnam (1,727) and second-placed Thailand (1,704), only Gai entered the individual final.
He failed to make it count, finishing eighth with 76 points, and said: "It's a combination of the pressures of competing on home ground and self-expectations that I didn't handle well enough."
The trio will next defend their men's 50m air pistol team title at the National Shooting Centre on Thursday.
Meanwhile, golden girl Teo and her team-mates will be returning to the range to train for their next event, the women's 25m pistol, also on the same day.
And if Teo reaches another individual final, she would know that her dad would have been even more proud of her.
This article was first published on June 08, 2015.
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