Jan (not her real name), an MUIDS student, interviewed her fellow student Rita (not her real name), who is a 12th grade MUIDS student that has become a champion shooter – both in Thailand and overseas. She reveals her path to becoming a successful athlete at such a young age.
When did you start shooting?
I started shooting when I was fifteen years old. The type of rifle I chose was the shotgun; you use it for shooting clay targets which requires more concentration than pistol shooting.
How did you get onto your team?
After training for six months, I participated in a major competition. However, my overall score was not good enough to be included in the top three players. I kept training throughout the year and then became one of my team’s representatives.
How do you train for competitions?
I exercise 3-4 times per week, depending on how much time I have. I do strength, endurance, and balance routines. Cardio workouts are also important because they help me control my breathing, especially when I’m nervous. I also meditate to maintain my concentration throughout competitions.
How do you balance your time?
I usually know the competition dates ahead of time, so I always organize my schedule around it. I write down deadlines for my school assignments and prioritize them. I rarely have free time because on the weekends I train at the shooting range.
What happens at shooting competitions?
The competitions have several events: skeet, trap, and double trap. I compete in the trap event. For trap, one disc flies out from the clay target launcher in a random direction. I take aim and try to shoot as many of them as possible.
Every athlete must go through the qualification round first. For women, there are 3 rounds in the qualifying period and each round consists of 25 targets. Each target counts as 1 point. The top 6 athletes qualify for the final round. Tied players compete in a shoot off round.
What your greatest challenge on the national team?
The biggest challenge was when the team and I competed overseas. That was my first competition outside of Thailand. I felt a lot of pressure because I was representing my country. I had to manage my emotions, keep myself from worrying too much, and stay focused.
What did you gain from each competition?
I became more self-disciplined and learned how to work through stressful situations. I also learned that the greatest challenge isn’t competing with other athletes, but with myself.