Olympics: I'll be back in 2020, says Jasmine Ser after failing to qualify for 50m air rifle 3 positions final

Jasmine Ser firing from the kneeling position with some rivals already having switched to the next set of 20 shots from prone. A below-par 190 from kneeling affected her concentration, which meant she was out of the running from early on. An excellen
Jasmine Ser firing from the kneeling position with some rivals already having switched to the next set of 20 shots from prone. A below-par 190 from kneeling affected her concentration, which meant she was out of the running from early on. An excellent final series, though, was reward for perseverance.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

She's never in contention for 50m rifle 3 positions but vows to win at Tokyo Games

Jasmine Ser shoots because she craves the perfection the sport demands she pursue, even if her own imperfection is constantly revealed through it, which was what happened yesterday at the Olympic Shooting Centre.

Her right knee tucked under her as she began the 50m rifle three positions qualification round, the 25-year-old knelt looking for a good start in her strongest position only to end standing in dejection.

A score of 568 was way below the minimum 582 required to make the final eight in her pet event, and also far from her best of 590, an Asian Games record.

 
 

Ser finished 34th overall out of 37 shooters.

Her pace, considerably slower than the rest of the field, was telling. She was not struggling, but she knew haste in the hope of better scores - especially in yesterday's windy conditions - would be foolish.

She said: "If I have a rhythm and I don't need the maximum 1 hour 45 minutes given, then so be it. But if I have some difficulty, I should slow down and rectify."

So following a sub-par 190 from kneeling, she lay in the prone position and stared at the target for more than 10 minutes before a first shot was fired.

Said Ser: "Kneeling is my strongest position so I was clearly disappointed with myself. There's no excuse. I wanted to cling on to whatever shots were left from prone and standing, and try my best."

Five shots later, she got up and walked to coach Kirill Ivanov. He reassured her that there was no problem with her technique.

Just stay focused.

Ser never managed to put herself in contention for the final through the 60 shots fired yesterday, but by the time her first standing series yielded a lowly 91, the Singaporean was shooting simply to finish.

But for someone who pursued Olympic qualification for close to two years and found it only at the last chance available, giving up yesterday was never an option.

Perfection finally came in her last series.

A 10 to open her last series, followed by three more for a good 97 to finish. But when others were shooting 100s - as five of the eight finalists did - good is just not good enough.

"It was not easy. It didn't go as what I expected, but I tried. Until the very last shot, I tried," said Ser, her voice quivering slightly.

She held back her emotions as she spoke in disappointment, willing herself to see a positive from the latest blow her sport had dealt her.

She said: "You learn and gain something from every setback. It opens an opportunity for me to climb back up again from this score and look forward to the next few competitions.

"I will continue this motto (of not giving up) until I finish my career."

In defeat, Ser hugged chef de mission Low Teo Ping.

She said she was sorry for her showing yesterday, but was told in return no apology was needed for the fight she put up.

Ser's second Olympics has ended in heartbreak and she will take some time to silence that sting, but there is more fight in her yet.

She said: "I did not qualify in 2012 so I said I would qualify for Brazil. I think I said it wrongly. This time I won't say that I'm going to qualify, but I'm going to win in 2020."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2016, with the headline 'I'll be back in 2020: Ser'. Print Edition | Subscribe