SINGAPORE - Two-gold Commonwealth Games champion Martina Veloso added a fifth gold to Singapore's tally at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Grand Prix in Jakarta on Tuesday (Feb 15).
The 22-year-old clinched the women's 50m rifle three positions title after outscoring Indonesia's Diaz Kusumawardani 16-6 in the final.
Veloso said she was pleased with her performance, especially after overcoming a rough start at an earlier stage, which saw her lying fifth out of eight shooters upon completing the kneeling and prone positions.
With just the standing position left, the pressure was piling as she was in danger of being eliminated before the medal match, which was only for the top four finishers.
She said: "It was very hard for me to get my focus back, but I managed to do so in the last position. I just told myself I don't have to be at the top right now, all I have to do is reach the top four then qualify for the gold-medal match.
"So I told myself to focus and take it one shot at a time rather than try to focus on the entire final."
That approach worked like a charm as Veloso came out tops in the standing segment, jumping to first overall with 301.77 points to qualify for the medal match with Kusumawardani (297) and Thai duo Thanyalak Chotphibunsin (296.9) and Supamas Wankaew (296.8). Compatriot Jasmine Ser finished eighth in the second stage and did not reach the medal match.
Veloso, who won the 10m air rifle and 50m air rifle prone golds at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, continued her form in the medal match, topping it with 42 points ahead of Kusumawardani's 37.5 before the pair went head to head for the gold.
Veloso, Ser and Lim Yee Xien also took home a bronze in the team event for the 50m rifle three positions, bringing Singapore's total medal tally to 14.
Hosts Indonesia are top of the medal table with five golds, eight silvers and one bronze, followed by Singapore (5-2-7) and Thailand (3-3-4).
Veloso added that her results at the Grand Prix show she is moving in the right direction ahead of May's Hanoi SEA Games, where she will compete in the 50m rifle three positions.
The communications undergraduate from the Singapore University of Social Sciences said: "There are a lot of South-east Asian countries here and it's a nice opportunity to get used to the weather and just soak in the environment because there are no mock competitions or mini South-east Asian championships in Vietnam so I think this Grand Prix was a nice warm-up towards the SEA Games.
"One thing I want to work on is handling pressure and nerves. Back home, it's not as stressful and I don't feel as much pressure as I do overseas.
"So it's always great for me to go out there to compete and use these situations to see how I can get used to them or what are the different strategies and tools I can use during competitions to make myself more calm and deal with pressure better."
Meanwhile, the men's 50m rifle three positions team of See Jun Ren, Marat Veloso and Gai Tianrui narrowly missed out on the bronze after losing 17-15 to the Bangladesh team of Md Rabbi Hasan Munna, Mohamad Ali and Shovon Chowdhury.
The shooters' campaign continues on Wednesday (Feb 16) with Hoong Shi Xiang and Lim Swee Hon in action in the men's 25m rapid fire pistol and the women's 25m pistol team of Teo Shun Xie, Teh Xiu Hong and Nicole Tan facing off against Thailand's Tanyaporn Prucksakorn, Chidchanok Hirunphoem, Natsara Champalat in the gold-medal match.
Siblings Martina and Marat will also be teaming up for the first time in the mixed team 50m rifle three positions on Wednesday.
Ahead of her final event, Martina said: "I'm quite excited. It's our first time competing together and hopefully we'll get the best result, but more importantly, it's also preparation for other World Cups for the rest of the year."