It is turning out to be a fantastic year for shooter Martina Lindsay Veloso.
In June, she became the first Singaporean to win a World Cup event when she won the women's 10m air rifle event at the ISSF World Cup (Rifle) in Munich, Germany.
Last month, at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, she qualified for the final and finished a creditable fifth.
Yesterday, at the second Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, Martina won Singapore's first medal of the Games when she bagged silver in the 10m air rifle at the Fangshan Shooting Hall. Her score of 207.2 was only just behind Switzerland's Sarah Hornung's winning effort of 207.8. Germany's Julia Budde took the bronze with 186.3.
The Singapore Sports School student finished as the fourth-best qualifier with 415.7 yesterday and, in an exciting final featuring the top eight qualifiers, Martina came agonisingly close to overhauling Hornung for the gold.
Martina said she felt more nervous against her peers in Nanjing, than when she competed against the sport's bigger guns.
"The final felt different from others that I've competed in before, I don't know why," she said.
Regarded as Singapore's best medal hope for the second edition of the Youth Olympics, she was able to calm her nerves and delivered when it mattered.
"There were expectations, but I couldn't think about all that. I'm just so glad that I was able to do my best.
"All my hard work has definitely paid off and I couldn't have done this without all my supporters back home - the Singapore National Olympic Council, the Singapore Shooting Association, the Sports School and my family and friends."
The climax to a remarkable year for the young gun could come at next month's Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, where she will take part in her pet event, as well as the 10m air rifle team event.
Her coach, Lim Chea Rong, clearly does not want to pile pressure on her, saying yesterday that it was important for the youngster to gain the experience of competing at such a high-level competition.
But, she did not completely rule out a run for a medal for the prodigy, either.
"Martina is very young and to put her on the world stage and expect medals would be too soon," Lim told The New Paper last night.
"When she won at the World Cup, it was very unexpected and she still needs more exposure at this stage. We do hope that she keeps up her current performance levels, though.
"I would say that it is possible for her to win a medal in the team event, because she will have other more experienced teammates competing next to her."
Martina is quite an exceptional talent... There is such a long way to go for Martina; many more tournaments to come. - Singapore National Olympic Council president, Tan Chuan-Jin
This article was first published on August 20, 2014.
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