Shooting: Cool outside but a volcano rages within

Former Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra was in town as the special guest of the Singapore Olympic Foundation- Peter Lim scholarship.
Former Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra was in town as the special guest of the Singapore Olympic Foundation- Peter Lim scholarship.ST PHOTO: DAVE LIM

India's Bindra tells S'pore shooters not to fight pressure but to learn to work with it

Even champions have an element of fear as they go hunting for greatness.

Nerves were ever-present each time Abhinav Bindra and Jasmine Ser picked up their rifles during competitions, the pair shared yesterday to a crowd of about 30 national shooters and officials.

Bindra won the men's air rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Games - becoming India's first individual Olympic gold medallist - and Ser is a three-time Commonwealth Games champion.

Bindra, who was in town as the special guest of the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship, said: "I was nervous throughout my competitions. In fact, I think I was the most nervous among all the shooters."

During the one-hour talk at the Singapore Sports Institute, the 34-year-old fielded questions on his training methods, his preparations during competitions and dealing with pressure throughout his career.

He said: "Well, I don't cope with it, I simply accepted it. It is important to know that everyone is nervous and even though you might look cool on the outside, there is a volcano inside.

"We should not fight it but rather accept it and learn to work with it."

The session was not only useful for the national shooters, but also for Ser, who finished 25th in the 10m air rifle and 34th in the 50m rifle three-positions at the Rio Olympics.

The Singapore Shooting Association's SEA Games selection trials are ongoing though the 26-year-old is likely to lead Singapore's charge in Kuala Lumpur in August. The Republic won five golds at the last edition at home.

Ser said: "I could even relate to the number of hours he practised and the times when we are nervous in competitions.

"He was right that a lot of the time, the strength to overcome it comes from within and that we must build on it."

She will travel to the International Sport Shooting Federation World Cup in Gabala, Azerbaijan on Saturday as she ramps up her preparation for the Aug 19-30 Games.

"One of the things I'll be looking at is my physical ability, as well as my strength and conditioning," Ser said.

"Today was a reminder, hearing it from someone of his experience, and I will reflect and work on areas of improvements."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2017, with the headline 'Cool outside but a volcano rages within'. Print Edition | Subscribe