School Sports: Thriller in air rifle contest as SSP edge out ACSI to claim team gold

(From left) Eston Soo, Ryan Sim, Mathius Chua and Jesper Lim of Singapore Sports School clinched gold by 1.1 points. ST PHOTO: SAMUEL ANG

SINGAPORE - For the second day running, the Singapore Sports School (SSP) clinched the team gold in shooting with a score of 1822.1, edging out Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) (ACS(I)) by 1.1 points in the men's 10m air rifle at the Safra Yishun Indoor Air Weapon Range on Tuesday (April 5).

Gunning for glory in the final session of the day at the National School Games (NSG) B division shooting competition, SSP's team of Eston Soo, Ryan Sim, Mathius Chua and Jesper Lim knew that ACS(I)'s total of 1821.0 from the morning session was the score to beat.

Team scores are tallied using the combined scores of the three highest scoring shooters of each team.

Standing in a row, clad in sleek red and black suits, the four shooters took aim and coolly went through their 60-shot routine. It took Eston, Ryan and Mathius all of 45 minutes to meet the mark and narrowly beat ACS(I).

Even with their final shooter, Jesper, still finishing up his final series of 10 shots, the SSP team knew they had bagged the win as they snapped photos of the electronic scoresheet with their mobile phones.

Ryan, 15, said: "All of us were in form and consistent with our shots. We were ecstatic and jumped for joy when we realised that we had won the team title. The team had trained very hard for the past two year and it means a great deal to us."

For SSP shooting academy's senior general manager Koh Aik Beng, the win was extra sweet as it is his final year with the team before retiring and he hopes that they "can sweep all the team titles".

The individual rankings saw an especially intense fight at the top with just 2.4 points separating first and fifth place. The Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) pair of Tristan Lock and Irvin Yeoh secured the top two spots, scoring 611.0 and 610.5 respectively while SSP's Soo settled for bronze with 609.4 points.

Shooting side-by-side in the first wave, Tristan and Irvin set the bar high for the remaining two groups with their tallies unchallenged throughout the day-long competition.

The win came as a surprise to NSG debutante Tristan as he "didn't expect to perform this well".

For Irvin, who endured a poor start and had encountered issues with his rifles a few days prior, the results exceeded his expectations. "The win allows me to know what I am capable of and that I can go further," said the 15-year-old.

HCI coach Zhang Zuoqiang was especially pleased with their individual performances. The 46-year-old said: "Their achievements are the reward and affirmation of our months of hard work and training. We have put in a lot of effort to prepare for this competition and we focused more on the process rather than the results which is one of the things we succeeded in today."

The B division shooting competition continues with the women's air rifle on Wednesday, followed by the women's 10m air pistol on Thursday.

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