Hey there, Hejun here. I was just recently chosen to represent Singapore in the upcoming 2019 SEA games for the 'Trap' shooting category. I have decided to quit my full-time job in February this year to focus shooting full-time. It is my belief that with sufficient practice, I can master the sport and put Singapore on the world map. Ready to get started on my shooting journey?
Chapter 1: New Beginnings
I picked up shooting more than a decade ago back in 2007. Back then I tried Clay Target shooting just out of curiosity. But the more shots I took, the harder I gripped the shotgun - and in turn shotgun took grip of my life. In those starting years I was averaging around 100/125 and gradually improved to 105/125 which was good enough to enable me to participate in regional tournaments.
From then on, trap shooting wasn't just a sport to me... it was a lifestyle.
As gimmicky as it may sound, I ate, sleep, shit and dream about shooting. My whole life seemed to revolve around shooting as I looked forward to training every weekend. Eventually, my hard work paid off as I was chosen to represent Singapore in the 2015 SEA games.
Till this date, I can remember every trigger I pulled that day as I reached a personal best back then of 111/125. As unimpressive as it sounds, it was a new milestone for me. With this new imbued confidence in me I pressed onto achieving greater heights.
However, my shooting average didn't improve for a long time and I began to wonder what was the problem. I attributed it to the lack of competition exposure because I strongly believe in the power of social influence. Only when you practice and compete with the best will you then get better. But I was a poor student back in June 2015 and simply couldn't afford to travel regularly overseas to compete. I could only afford to participate in competitions that had sponsorship from the country through SSA.
That being said, after the June 2015 SEA games, I was given a golden opportunity to represent the country once again in SEASA 2015. To give you a context on how big this is for myself, SEASA is the like the world cup for shooting if the world only revolves around Southeast Asia. And after a few tough days of shooting I managed to hit yet another personal best of 115/125 and finished 5th in the tournament.
That's right, I was unofficially the 5th best trap shooter in Southeast Asia back then. It sounded pretty awesome and trust me, I can tell you that I felt pretty awesome too. It inspired me to continue training every weekend, and pressing onto greater glories.
As you know, in every story there's bound to be some letdown. And to this one, it was when the shooting range closed for me between February 2016 to April 2016. By the time I got back to shooting on May, my average has dropped to a measly 100 to 105.
And then it hit me… It wasn't the competitions that pushed me to my maximum potential...
...It was the practice that I put in week-in week-out that made me the 5th best in Southeast Asia. But with me in my final year of school and the intense Singaporean 'get a job before you graduate' culture choking on me, I could never find the form I had back in 2016.
2017 was a bad year as I couldn't find that magic that I had when I started competing for Singapore. As I started my full-time job in 2018, I couldn’t find the time to practise as regularly as before. The only highlight of that year was placing 10th in the Thai open where I scored only 107/125.
During the whole of 2018 I always had this thought on my mind… What if I quit my job and focus solely on ‘Trap’ shooting?
But given the cost of living in Singapore I deemed it to be impossible and continued slaving away in the CBD area. However, this thought ate at my conscience constantly... I believed that if I could practice more every week I would become better at hitting my shots.
And guess what happened next?
That’s right, I quit my full-time job in February 2019 and started putting in more hours to practicing my shots. From just shooting twice per week, I doubled my training to four times per week. I could see a stark improvement in my shooting abilities over the months as my average shot up to 110/125. However, I simply could not afford to train more than 4 times per week as I still needed a part-time job to survive in Singapore.
But alas, being able to practice 4 times per week enabled me to shoot better and my score allowed me to participate in the 2019 Thailand open.
Throughout the qualification days I beat most of my competitors and finished amongst the top 3 in the qualifiers at 89/100.
And on the final day, I managed to shoot 113 and clinched the silver medal!
And that’s not all…
My persistence in practicing and grinding it out 4 times per week at the range allowed me to participate in the recent SEASA 2019. During the opening day, I beat out XX competitors from all over Southeast Asia to finish 1st in the qualifiers.
And during the final day of shooting, I shot my personal best of 117/125 and clinched the gold medal.
This meant that I for a moment was the BEST ‘Trap’ shooter in Southeast Asia.
But I don’t want to stop there. I believe that if I had the opportunity to practice more, I would be able to maintain my #1 position in Southeast Asia. But in order to increase my practice from 4 times a week to 6 times a week, I would need to quit my part-time job which gave me $1.5k per month.
Now this is the reason why I started this fundraising, so I can dedicate these two whole months into training full-time. I know $3,000 is a huge sum and I probably don’t need the entire amount to survive for two months. But rest assured that I would put this money to good use as I will only use it for improving my shooting abilities and nothing else.
In fact, I would be fully transparent about how I use the money after SEA Games 2019 is over.
As you probably realise by now, the more I practised the better I got at shooting. This isn’t rocket science and my shooting abilities is just proof of pure grit and hard work. I don’t believe I have the talent in shooting trap but my passion in shooting has enabled me to become #1 in Southeast Asia - and I believe that speaks volume of my belief that I will claim top 3 in SEA games if I can practice more every week.
Now you may be wondering, why not apply to the Shooting Association or Sport SG for some sort of state funding? Trust me, I have tried that route and they simply gauged that my performance is one step away from the elite & professional level. They do not have enough funds to support amateur players and I accept their decision. As a result, I believe that SEA Games 2019 would be the perfect springboard to launch myself into the professional level so I can get funding from 2020 onwards.
So if you’re interested in helping an aspiring athlete in his push for SEA Games glory, you can donate by clicking on one of the options on the right.
And to reward you for supporting my SEA games training, you will be getting some awesome goodies at different tiers that would be sent to you upon the successful funding of the campaign!
Goodies Tier! Merchandise offered with support of Oriental Kingfisher Co.
1. $10 - Choice of Hand Drawn Postcard or Shotgun Singapore Enamel Pin sent to the address of your choice, postage inclusive!
2. $25 - Shotgun Singapore Leather Cardholder
3. $50 - Shotgun Singapore T-Shirt, with various designs available
4. $80 - Shotgun Singapore T-Shirt, Cardholder & Postcard Bundle
5. $120 - Cheesecake Party: 1kg Homemade Cheesecake delivered to you! (Available in Singapore)
6. $240 - Shotgun Singapore Hand-stitched Leather Wallet
7. $500 - Shotgun Singapore Leather Wallet, T-Shirt & a Personal Shotgun Coaching Session
Anyone interested in picking up shotgun shooting could also do so with the respective shooting clubs in Singapore, or enquire with the Singapore Shooting Association (SSA).
Singapore Gun Club - http://www.singaporegunclub.com/portal/