She hated having a weapon in her hands when she first took up shooting as a Secondary One student five years ago.
How things have changed for Chua Shin Yoong.
Today, she is gunning to qualify for at least one of the four International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup legs next year, and to eventually compete at the Olympic Games.
Chua, the girls' winner of The New Paper School Sports Star Award 2014, said: "I couldn't make it for the SEA (South-east Asia) Games team next year, as the bulk of the qualifying events were held last month, when I was busy with my A Levels.
"But I definitely hope to continue with the sport and make it to the Olympics one day."
She picked up her trophy, a $3,000 cheque from YEO's, and a H-TWO-O gift pack filled with premiums from The New Paper newsroom yesterday.
The 18-year-old Catholic Junior College student missed the awards ceremony at Raffles Institution last Wednesday as she had to make an unscheduled overseas trip for personal reasons, and found out about her win only when she returned to Singapore that night.
The national youth team shooter said: "I found out from my classmates in our Whatsapp group chat, one of them had seen the news on Twitter, and they asked me why I didn't tell them.
"I was shocked when I found out the news, I really didn't expect to win," added Chua, who finished ninth in the girls' 10m air pistol event at the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing last year.
RECHARGE She took up shooting in Secondary One at Yuhua Secondary School, but needed to recharge three years later when she went on an 11-month hiatus after the B Division championships.
Chua picked up the sport again in CJC after she was almost miraculously assigned her old gun.
She thinks that it was donated to CJC because in 2010 she had to give up all her shooting equipment, including her pistol, when Yuhua had to close its shooting programme due to a lack of funds.
She duly set a new record when she won the A Division 10m pistol event last year with 380 points, and was then selected for the national youth team.
Chua struggled this year, though, finishing fifth in the same event in the schools' nationals with a score of 364.
Asked on how she intends to spend her prize money, Chua said: "I will probably use it to further my shooting, to defray the costs of travelling to my training sessions at Safra Yishun, for example.
"I will also use some of the money to buy my family, my friends and my coach a treat."
The teenager is aiming to do well at the upcoming South-east Asia Shooting Championships, which will be held here from Dec 8 to 17. With that in mind, Chua was headed to Safra Yishun for training after collecting her prizes yesterday.
The teenager, who will be off to Batam for a short holiday today, said: "I want to get whatever practice I can before the competition."
This article was first published on Dec 2, 2014.
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