When the Precision Pistol Competition (PPC) event is held at the SEA Games in June, it will mark not just the introduction of a new event at the biennial Games but also the first time in the world that this format is being contested internationally.
Singapore will be represented by a team of six - all of whom serve in various Home Team agencies - in the event, which until now has been held only at club level.
While they will be new to the SEA Games, the sharpshooters are seasoned competitors, having posted stellar results just last month at the Shooting Sports Federation & Pistol Australia National Championship in Adelaide.
Three out of that squad of 12 were ranked among the top 10 in a field of 60 that included some of South Australia's best shooters.
So while Singapore Shooting Association (SSA) high performance chairman Thomas Soo was coy about identifying gold-medal prospects among the SEA Games shooting squad of 29, he was less hesitant about tipping the PPC shooters for glory.
"The Philippines and Thailand are quite strong but our PPC shooters are expected to do well," he said yesterday.
Practical shooting was contested at the 2005 Games in Manila but in a format that was not internationally recognised.
That year, Alex Chow won a silver in the men's practical pistol event.
This time, it will be contested in the World Association 1500 format, allowing full-sized revolvers and pistols (.32 and .35 calibre and above).
Athletes shoot from a variety of stances and within stipulated timings at different firing distances.
Said Norizan Mustafa, 34, an officer with the Singapore Prison Service: "It's definitely a heavier responsibility when you're representing the country.
"But it's important as an athlete to focus on the Games and not be affected."
Added Peter Teh, a 46-year-old officer who serves in the Gurkha contingent: "When we train, we train to win.
"As a sportsman, you should be able to take it and perform in a high-intensity environment.
"We expected pressure so, in a way, it doesn't weigh heavily on our shoulders.
"We don't just want to be participants - we want to be winners."
This article was first published on April 27, 2015.
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