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Old 3rd January 2012, 08:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Shooting: Singapore's Yafei guns for Olympic qualification

Shooting: Singapore's Yafei guns for Olympic qualification

By Philip Goh, TODAY
Posted: 03 January 2012 0631 hrs


SINGAPORE: When Li Yafei flies out to Doha next week for the 12th Asian Shooting Championship, she will be visualising an oasis of calm for her competition on Jan 14.


Li Yafei (Photo by PHILIP GOH)

As one of Singapore's brightest shooting talents, Yafei knows the difference between winning and losing is often in the mind.

Her task in every competition, as her coach constantly reminds her, is to isolate herself from the tension in the competition arena and to make every shot count.

She struggled to achieve that at the SEA Games in Indonesia last November - Yafei shot 394 to qualify in second place, only to falter in the final round and finish fourth - and she is determined not to let that happen again.

"I allowed the environment to distract me," said Yafei. "It was tough enough dealing with the competition where there were fewer shooters and the pressure was more immediate, and I know now that despite whatever nervousness I had, I needed to have maintained my routine and do what I had to do."

Still 17 - she turns 18 on March 1 - the Raffles Junior College student heads to Qatar on Jan 8 gunning for the biggest prize in her fledgling shooting career - a place in the 2012 London Olympics.

To get there, she will need to replicate or better the 397 she nailed at the Asian Air Gun Championship in Kuwait last October, her highest competition score to date, when she outshone teammates Jasmine Ser and Cheng Jian Huan.

Born in Tianjin, China, Yafei arrived in Singapore as a four-year-old when her father took up a teaching position at Raffles Girls School. She decided to pick up shooting when she entered Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School, and after shooting 391 at a school training camp in China, she was inspired to take the sport seriously.

In 2010, Yafei shot 396 to win the National School's girls 'B' division competition, setting a new record across all divisions and breaking Ser's old mark of 395.

"Yafei has made great strides since joining national youth training in 2009," said national coach Zhang Man Zhen. "While she has done well, she is still some ways from being able to match up against the world's best, and she will need more exposure to learn how to handle competition stresses."

In Doha, the best shooters in Asia who have yet to secure a spot at the 2012 Olympics will be competing for the two remaining quota places. Yafei is aware that she may need to outdo Ser and Cheng again if she wants to win her ticket to London. But she is not daunted.

"We are always competing with each other anyway but what I really want to do is to continue shooting better in competition, and hopefully one day hit the perfect score of 400."

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...174483/1/.html

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