Gunning for Gold: National Schools Shooting Championships 2015

by Heather I’anson-Holton (16A01E)

For the uninitiated, shooting in RI is broken down into two sports – air rifle and air pistol, each comprising of a boys’ and girls’ team. This year’s championships saw our four teams competing over a week of gruelling hour-long matches.

Watching a shooting match is unlike watching any other sports competition – cheering is banned and banners are redundant; audience members are required to stay quiet and unobtrusive, so as to minimise distractions for the shooters. The near-absolute silence of the shooting range is broken only by the sporadic sounds of gunfire as the audience stares at the scoreboards attempting to interpret the progress of the match; the air is thick with tension from start to finish.

Alexander Yean (left) and Chua Bing Hong (right), preparing for the match

Alexander Yean (left) and Chua Bing Hong (right), preparing for the match

While many are quick to say that shooting is not a ‘real’ sport, our shooters claim otherwise. The sport itself is physically demanding; shooters are expected to handle guns weighing up to 4.5kg for hours at a time, with additional heavy body armour for the riflers, and our shooters came away from each match both physically and mentally exhausted.

This championship saw some difficulties for our shooters, the most noted of which happened during the Air Rifle Women’s competition, during which rifler Evelyn Chng’s gun malfunctioned. After making repairs, she was left with just 12 minutes to complete 30 shots.

COMPETITION STRUCTURE

GIRLS

Air Rifle and Air Pistol

Preparation time:

15min, unlimited shots

Competition time:

50min, 40 shots

BOYS

Air Rifle and Air Pistol

Preparation time:

15min, unlimited shots

Competition time:

1h 15min, 60 shots

2015 has been a year of change for shooting, firstly due to the introduction of electronic targets to replace the previous paper targets. These new targets reflected the score of each shot after it had been taken, the subtotal for each set of ten shots, and the shooter’s total score. Shooting is a sport where mind over matter really matters, and the teams had to be extra mindful to focus on their actions and not their scores, a feat that proved to be much harder now that their scores were neatly displayed to them after each shot. Competition rules were also revised – in previous years, a team was comprised of three shooters and a reserve; this year, all four members of the team competed, with the best three results being chosen for the final team score.

Furthermore, the CCA underwent some internal changes as our shooters bade farewell to their pistol coach of many years, Mr Qian Gang, who has since returned to China. Ex-rifle coach Li Jie has kindly taken over the training of the pistol teams, and his wife, coach Ding, has taken up the post of rifle coach. This has been a big adjustment for our shooters, most of them having trained under Coach Li and Coach Qian for many years. However, pistoler Wong Ho Zuan (15S03P) assures us that though it came as a shock, the pistol teams have “transitioned quite well towards Coach Li’s teaching style, and we have both of them to thank for our results today.”

The four members of the Air Pistol girls' team celebrating their win

The four members of the Air Pistol girls’ team celebrating their win (Photo by Phyllis Loo of 16S06K)

Despite all these challenges however, our shooters did the school proud by securing several trophies:

  • ‘A’ Div Air Rifle Women – Team 3rd
  • ‘A’ Div Air Pistol Women – Team 2nd
  • ‘A’ Div Air Rifle Men – Team 1st
  • ‘A’ Div Air Pistol Men – Team 2nd

Special mention also goes out to Sean Tay who clinched Individual 2nd in the Air Rifle Men’s category, and Wong Ho Zuan, who achieved Individual 3rd in the Air Pistol Men’s category.

All in all, the teams are satisfied with what they have achieved. Pistoler Lee Vint Seng (15S03H) says, “in shooting, to aim for the goal is to miss the mark; think of the results and everything you’ve worked towards falls apart.” Rifler Wang Kaiying (16S03E) tells us that it while may not be reflected in the trophy haul, the teams have definitely made progress, and that’s what ultimately counts. “There’s no denying how much we’ve grown and improved both as a team and as individuals.”

Raffles Shooting (Y1-6), with their coaches and teachers-in-charge

Raffles Shooting (Y1-6), with their coaches and teachers-in-charge

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