Breakthrough buoys Ser

Singapore shooter Jasmine Ser has won medals at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and SEA Games.

But she had been unable to make a mark when it came to competing against a world-class field.

On Thursday, she finally got that monkey off her back at the Bangkok leg of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup. The Singaporean bagged a bronze in the women's 10m air rifle, her first medal in the World Cup series.

The 25-year-old told The Straits Times: "This started out as my pet event - the event I competed in since I was in secondary school.

"I started to go to the World Cup when I was 17. And over the years, I've entered the final at the World Cup a few times, including last year, yet I didn't win (a medal).

"I had a breakthrough this time around. It's one of my biggest achievements, because it's the World Cup, a large-scale event."

Ser shot a total of 184.6 in the eight-shooter final to clinch the bronze, behind Olympic champion and world record holder Yi Siling of China (207.7) and Austria's Olivia Hofmann (205.4).

Her compatriot Ho Xiu Yi also enjoyed a breakthrough performance. The 16-year-old debutant had qualified for the final in second spot (Ser was fourth). Xiu Yi eventually finished a creditable fifth (143.5).

Ser admitted that her efforts to qualify for the Rio Games over the past two years have taken some wind out of her sails.

But this achievement has not only given the Rio-bound shooter a shot of confidence ahead of August's Olympic Games, it has also energised her.

The 2015 Sportswoman of the Year said: "After India (the Asian Olympic qualifiers in January), I felt slightly tired, because I spent over two years trying to qualify for the Olympics and I finally made it.

"This (the bronze) is an encouragement to me and it spurs me to keep training and improving."

And she drew positives from her performance at this World Cup, the first of four stops, with the next leg being held next month in Rio.

She said: "There were techniques that I was fine-tuning in practice and I applied that in this competition."

But Ser knows that she has got a lot of room for improvement. She admitted: "Mentally and techniques-wise, they are not world-class yet."

Ser's job in Bangkok is not done yet, as she will compete in the women's 50m three-position event tomorrow, the same event she had won in New Delhi.

But now that she already has a bronze in the bag, she was in a buoyant mood ahead of the event, saying: "Somehow this complements and motivates me for the other event."

This article was first published on March 5, 2016.
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