Near misses help shooter Teh Xiu Hong qualify for Olympics, Latest Team Singapore News - The New Paper
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Near misses help shooter Teh Xiu Hong qualify for Olympics

After some agonising near misses, Singaporean shooter Teh Xiu Hong has qualified for her maiden Olympics without firing a single shot.

On June 14, the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) confirmed her spot through the qualification rankings. At world No. 17, she is the highest-ranked women’s 25m pistol athlete who has not qualified and is part of a national Olympic committee which does not have more than one berth in the event.

In 2024, Teh stepped up her campaign to win an Olympic quota for Singapore. But she missed out by one spot at the Asian Rifle and Pistol Championships in Indonesia in January, and again by two places at the ISSF Final Olympic Qualification Championship in Brazil three months later.

But in the end, her efforts paid off as the ranking points accumulated from those competitions allowed her to overtake several contenders – including compatriot and 2016 Olympian Teo Shun Xie – to punch her ticket to Paris.

The Straits Times has contacted Teh, who is currently overseas, for comment.

National pistol coach Lee Do-hee, a South Korean who has worked with Olympic champion Kim Jang-mi and several World Cup medallists, credited Teh for her positivity and mentality.

Having worked with her across two stints in 2019-2020 and from 2023, she told ST: “Xiu Hong is a positive individual who is willing to take on challenging training so that I could bring out her strengths.

“The mental game is one of the important parts of shooting and I believe the strong trust and connection between the athlete and the coach is important. These factors have contributed to her rapid growth and improvement in a short period of time.

“One of her technical skills is her excellent trigger control. If she gains more experience and learns to alleviate competition anxiety, she has the potential to further excel as an athlete.”

Teh’s qualification means that Singapore shooting will continue its tradition of being represented at every Olympics since Seoul 1988.

Singapore Shooting Association president Michael Vaz stressed that he was confident that the streak would not be broken.

Vaz, who is pushing for an eight-lane finals range to be built here, said: “We have had to fight for ranking points instead of a quota for the Olympics through finals events as we don’t have a finals range to practise for that. The finals events that produce medals are a different format and we have been faring badly in these.

“Without a finals range, we have to beg and borrow from our neighbours Indonesia, South Korea and Chinese Taipei and rely on the goodwill of competition hosts to let us go early to practise in their finals range.”

Besides Teh, 20 other Singaporean athletes have booked their Paris 2024 spots.

They are Shanti Pereira (athletics), Loh Kean Yew, Yeo Jia Min, Terry Hee, Jessica Tan, (badminton), Stephenie Chen (canoeing), Caroline Chew (equestrian), Amita Berthier, Kiria Tikanah (fencing), Aisyah Saiyidah (rowing), Maximilian Maeder, Ryan Lo (sailing), Jonathan Tan, Quah Ting Wen, Quah Jing Wen, Letitia Sim, Levenia Sim (swimming), Izaac Quek, Zeng Jian and Zhou Jingyi (table tennis).

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