Asean army shooting meet gets off the mark

Deputy army chiefs and senior officers from Asean armies firing pistols during the 27th Asean Armies Rifle Meet opening ceremony at Nee Soon Range yesterday. Besides the rifle meet, annual meetings for Asean army chiefs and sergeant majors will take
Deputy army chiefs and senior officers from Asean armies firing pistols during the 27th Asean Armies Rifle Meet opening ceremony at Nee Soon Range yesterday. Besides the rifle meet, annual meetings for Asean army chiefs and sergeant majors will take place on Nov 21.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Singapore hosting annual event that will see 550 top shooters aiming for 15 trophies

Top military shooters from the region are in town for the latest edition of the Asean Armies Rifle Meet, a diplomatic tradition that goes back to 1991.

In all, 550 army shooters from South-east Asia will be firing away after the week-long event started yesterday at Nee Soon Range run by the Singapore Armed Forces.

They are aiming for 15 trophies that will be awarded to the best shooters across five categories: carbine, rifle, machine gun, pistol (men) and pistol (women).

All 10 Asean members are represented in this year's competition. Each country takes turns to host the annual competition, and Singapore last hosted the event in 2009.

Colonel Andrew Lim, 44, who is in charge of the event's steering committee, said at a media briefing last week that a "healthy dose of competition goes a long way to build relationships and deepen trust".

The annual competition will also "avoid all the second-guessing that will potentially take place if (we) don't meet often enough", added the infantry chief.

At the opening ceremony yesterday, Brigadier-General Siew Kum Wong said the rifle meet is an important avenue for Asean countries to renew relationships.

LARGER PURPOSE

Winning is important, but there is a larger purpose behind what we do, that so long as we give our soldiers the best training possible. At the end of the day, may the best soldier win.

COLONEL ANDREW LIM, who is in charge of the event's steering committee.

"It provides the platform for professional military ties to be established and deepened," he said.

Besides the rifle meet, annual meetings for Asean army chiefs and sergeant majors will take place on Nov 21.

This year, they will discuss how Asean countries can work together to fight extremist groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

BG Siew, 46, said: "Their modus operandi transcends the traditional state-defined borders, and isolated actions from individual countries will not be effective."

Meanwhile, at this year's rifle competition, shooters will be using the Multi-Mission Range Complex at Pasir Laba Camp for the first time. The three-storey indoor live firing range allows shoots to take place regardless of weather.

Major Phongsavath Khamphouy, who is in charge of the team from the Lao People's Army, said the indoor range provides a different kind of challenge as shoots are usually conducted outdoors in Laos.

"We will adapt as soon as possible," he said.

A Singapore representative, Master Sergeant Harinderjit Singh, who is taking part for the sixth time, said it is important to keep a cool head.

"I make sure I have a routine and stick to it. I remind myself not to get nervous," said the 38-year-old, who is in the 10-men pistol team.

His teammate, Corporal (NS) Terry How Wei Yang, 22, who is making his debut, said he goes through the rundown in his mind every night before bed.

Both men are looking forward to the meet and to learning from their competitors.

Tips they have picked up include better ways to angle their elbows, stay flat on the ground and keep their arms steady.

MSG Singh said: "Every year, there's something new to learn. We get better and they get better too."

Col Lim said: "Winning is important, but there is a larger purpose behind what we do, that so long as we give our soldiers the best training possible. At the end of the day, may the best soldier win."

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2017, with the headline 'Asean army shooting meet gets off the mark'. Print Edition | Subscribe