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Shooters Win With Innovation And Accuracy

Rubber Band Toy Gun Making Competition

As the cancellation of the National School Games was announced on 19 May 2020, a wave of disappointment swept across the nation, amongst school athletes in particular, as they would not be able to compete in the largest annual school competition this year.

However, while the biggest competition on most school athletes’ calendar was struck off, national youth shooters still had something exciting to look forward to just three days later. On 22 May, 22 young shooters convened on Google Meet for the Rubber Band Toy Gun Making Competition jointly organised by Singapore Sports School and Singapore Shooting Association.

Competitors had to make a toy gun within the dimensions of 42cm (length) by 20cm (height) by 5cm (thickness), while their target had to be no larger than 10cm in height and 5cm in width. As the competition commenced, shooters took their turns to fire rubber bands at their target placed at least 3m away. If multiple targets are used, they were to be placed 10cm apart. The goal was to hit as many targets as possible within two minutes. Awards were available for the top three shooters, based on number of targets struck down, and the five best gun designers.

From their homes, judges Jeanine Heng (SSA High Performance Manager), Lin hua (SSA National Youth Team Pistol Coach) and Lim Chea Rong (Sports School Shooting Academy Head Coach) took score and assessed the handiwork of the competitors. During the Competition, which lasted just over two hours, more than just one gun incited “oohs”, “ahhs” and “whoas” as the shooters impressed judges with their creations.

One such gun that triggered excitement among the judges was a sleek, white handgun made by Sports School Secondary 4 student-athlete Jiang Yit Fong. The cardboard gun, which allowed multiple rubber bands to be loaded each time, earned him the Best Design award.

Yit Fong managed to hit a creditable seven targets, however it was his Secondary 2 junior Maldon Then Fung Lim who emerged as the top shooter. Maldon set a high score of 16 target-hits while he fired from a kneeling position on a sofa, at targets which were lined up on a mahjong table.

“I was surprised to win the shooting competition and, at that moment, I was happy that the time I had spent building the gun and targets had paid off,” shared Maldon, who was initially apprehensive about joining the contest. His lack of confidence in the gun, which he took one hour to make, saw the most colourful handgun in the contest, hoping to secure a prize in the design category.

Fellow Sports School teammates Maxx Lee Yu Wei (Secondary 3) and Rinnah Loh Ee Joy (Secondary 1) came close to Maldon’s mark with 15 hits, resulting in a tie-breaker which Rinnah eventually won to earn her the runner-up title.

While Yit Fong – who had spent a solid 15 hours straight on his second attempt at constructing the toy gun – did not finish top three in the shooting contest, he was grateful to have something to look forward to during the month-long school holidays, especially with circuit breaker measures in place. 

“I like that it was a hands-on activity and it gave me something to focus my energy on,” said Yit Fong. Despite its small scale, the competition brought teachable moments for the pistol shooter who learnt about perseverance, having remade his gun after failing the first time round. It was the perfectionist in him, and a never-give-up attitude, that drove him to build a stand-out product.

“I put in more effort the second time. Each piece was cut by hand, before being glued together. Every step, including drilling a hole, required precision to ensure that the gun could work properly. If some parts were too big and did not fit well, adjustments had to be made.”

The fun contest saw participants exercising their creativity in materials and design of their “weapon” and targets, indirectly encouraging eco-friendliness. The youths made use of recyclable and reusable materials such as cardboard, old receipts, lego figures, cutlery, and even a chair leg to construct guns and targets of varying shapes, sizes and “loading” and “firing” systems.

Among the 22 creations that were presented that day, two unorthodox guns stood out – one which utilised a set of fork and spoon, and another made out of a chair leg and part of a photo frame.

“My main goal were to use recycled materials that I could easily find, while keeping its look ‘fashionable’. I used one leg from an old wooden chair – which I painted black – and part of a plastic picture frame which I broke into four parts,” said Faithe Odelia de Souza.

The Secondary 2 Sports School student-athlete’s innovativeness was evident as she wielded the only rifle-type gun of the competition. Faithe started by researching online for ideas, but was dissatisfied with the results that yielded. Eventually, it was the rifle shooter’s love for her weapon in real life that helped in her decision-making. With merely a reference to the structure of a rifle, the 14-year-old shooter used her imagination to piece together the toy gun. The “rifle” even had a laser function, made by fitting her father’s old laser pointer in a hole which she drilled in the main structure and securing it with string. Unfortunately, use of the laser was disallowed during the competition.

The other unconventional gun was one made by Justin Loei from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent). While most others used cardboard or paper products, the Secondary 3 student made use of common household items. His unique “weapon” was made using two spoons and a fork, and held together by rubber bands.

”I was not able to find ice cream sticks at home and, with little time remaining, I realised I had to work around this obstacle. A fork came to mind and I decided that it would do well to hold the rubber band in place. It was also shiny, which would hopefully add some aesthetic value. After a bit of tinkering, more cutlery was included to make the gun actually usable.”

Shooting (Top 3)
1st: Maldon Then Fung Lim
2nd: Rinnah Lau Ee Joy
3rd: Maxx Lee Yu Wei

Design (Top 5)
Best Design: Jiang Yit Fong
Consolation: Ross Lee Yu Bin, Maxx Lee Yu Wei, Chan Yi Xuan, Lee Kelli-Ann (not from Singapore Sports School)