Singapore Shooting for Victory with Jasmine Ser

By Siti Zawani

Jasmine Ser, Singapore’s national shooter, gives a whole new meaning to the term “guns of steel”, when she overcame a bout of food poisoning earlier this year while competing in the Women’s 50m Rifle Three Position at Asia Olympic Qualifying Competition for Shooting. Not only did she battle the bug, but she also came out victorious to clinch first place in said competition.

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At 25 years old, Ser has already shown the world that our little red dot is a force to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to the Olympic stage. Just to name a few of her achievements, she has competed in the Women's 10-metre air rifle event at the 2012 Summer Olympics, won gold in the 50-metre rifle 3 positions category and was one of eight gold medallists at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Ser has also just booked her spot for this August’s Rio Olympics after winning gold in the women’s 50m three-positions (3P) event at the Asian Qualifiers in New Delhi – giving us yet another reason to keep our eyes out for this lady with prowess. We managed to steal a little bit of Ser’s time, amidst her hectic schedule, to catch up on her achievements thus far and how she’s managed to stay focused despite the obstacles.

Q: What brought you to this sport?
A: My elder sister was part of our secondary school, Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary, shooting team. She won many medals back home and that inspired me to pick up the same sport as her. I trained hard to improve my skills, and performed well at the National Schools Competitions, which then got me into the National Team.

Q: This is the first time Singapore has secured not one, but two shooting spots in the Olympics. How does it feel to be a part of such a historical moment in our sport history?
A: I am really honoured to be able to represent Singapore at this upcoming Olympics. Qualifying for this Olympics hasn't been easy, I probably took one of the longest route to qualify but it also became the most nurturing journey. I was elated when Shun Xie, from the Pistol team also made it together with me and I hope this will encourage more participation in the sport, and many more to strive towards excellence.

Q: You have four World Cups to fight through before the Rio Olympics this year. How do these competitions add value to your training, on top of all the hours you’re already putting in?
A: These four World Cups are stepping stones for me; they bring out my competitive spirit much more than if I were to compete at home. I use them to fine-tune my physical and mental skills to prepare for August. Also, since most of those who have qualified are also participating in the same World Cups, it gets challenging and I will have to raise my own standards.

Q: Your coach, Mr Kirill Ivanov, is quite the decorated athlete himself when he was competing in the same sport. What’s the best piece of advice he’s given you when it comes to handling intense competition?
A: Indeed, he is, he won the Bronze medal from the 1988 Seoul Olympics and of course also won many World Cups during his career. He always reminds me the only thing that decides my shot is my control. He means that there could be a thousand of things that could affect me, but a good shot only comes from good control, and I need to have that control, get in the zone, and block out every other thought and distraction.

Q: What drives you to be a better athlete?
A: Passion made me an athlete, while the motivation that I get from my family, friends, coach and all other aspiring athletes drives me to be a better athlete every day. Being an athlete for more than 10 years, I have learned that the pursuit of excellence is not what makes you a better athlete – rather, it is how you pursue it that makes you one.

Q: Our SportSanity readers would love to know, what kind of training goes into being a professional shooter? What are the types of exercises you do to improve your shooting skills?
A: Apart from shooting bullets at the ranges, I hit the gym and also swim once a week. Also, I am currently working on improving my core stability, by doing core exercises at home.

Q: And diet-wise, what goes on to your plate on a typical training day?
A: My breakfast is usually a plate of Wanton noodles; it has been this way for many years. Lunch can be a plate of economy rice or a bowl of noodles. For dinner, I will try to have a more nutritious meal consisting of rice with 3 side dishes. Shooters do not have much diet restrictions, however, I do avoid spicy food and raw food days before competing.

Q: Where do you hope to be/achieve in your shooting career in the next 5 years?
A: In the next 5 years, I hope I will get to compete in and win the Asian Games and partake in the next Olympics that will be held in Tokyo in 2020.

Q: Final question: Who is your athletic idol, and why?
A: I have no particular idol; I respect all great athletes across all sports. They are great in their own unique ways, and this also inspires me to become a better athlete in my sporting career


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