For Vanessa Yong, a rising star in Singapore shooting, the past 18 months have been punctuated with new heights in achievement and focus. By nature a gregarious and friendly girl, 18 year-old Vanessa is now training full time in one of the most mentally demanding sports. The Sportsgirl of the Year for 2007 is one of 22 elite athletes in Singapore preparing for the Beijing and London Olympic Games under the umbrella of Project 0812.
Vanessa earned her Sportsgirl Award on the back of a team silver medal in the women’s 10-metre air-rifle at the Asian Games in Doha in December 2006 and individual and team bronze medals at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in March. Thanks to those successes, Vanessa and teammates Adrienne Ser and Jasmine Ser were also named Junior Team of the Year (Events). All three girls have come a long ways since they began shooting with Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School shooting club.
Deferring her university studies was a major decision for Vanessa. As much as she recognized the importance of education, Vanessa also nurtured a long-held desire to compete at the Olympic Games. The silver medal at the Asian Games and her scores in Melbourne helped convince her that she has the ability to go the distance. “I used to panic under pressure, but the focus and concentration required in shooting have taught me how to manage difficult situations,” says Vanessa. “Training full time brings me closer to achieving my Olympic dream.”