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Incheon Daily: Champions, Finally

30 September, 2014   Alywin Chew

bowling womens team

Team Singapore's Bowling Women's Team of Five with their Gold medals (Photo by Sport Singapore)

 

As the last bowling pin of the women's team competition fell on Tuesday morning, so did the tears from Team Singapore's keglers. As a frantic wave of emotions hit the arena, with team members running about throwing hugs and high-fives, the one thing that remained static was the team’s total pinfall of 6119 up on the scoreboard – a figure that will not doubt be indelibly carved into the annals of Singapore sporting history as the magical number that gave the Republic its first ever Gold medal in a team bowling event at the Asian Games.

The team of Jazreel Tan, Shayna Ng, Cherie Tan, Daphne Tan and New Hui Fen were atop the standings after the first block on Monday, and they hardly looked like they were going to let their opponents bridge the gap. There were minor hiccups between the games and the host nation always looked a threat, but Team Singapore’s bowlers soldiered on and were almost unreachable come the final round. In the end, South Korea finished second with 6048 pinfalls, while Bronze medal-winner Indonesia was left trailing the champions by a staggering 279 pinfalls.

bowling womens team

Team Singapore's Bowling Women's Team of Five with their Gold medals (Photo by Sport Singapore)

 

Team Singapore's keglers have now won three medals, including Jazreel's Silver medal win in the Women's Singles, and another Silver in the Women's Trios event. There was also more good news from the bowlers as Jazreel also bagged a Bronze in the All Women's Event with a total pinfall of 5013, making her the most bemedalled Singaporean athlete at this year's Games with four medals.

And amid all the chaos, the other thing that stood out was the smile from head coach Remy Ong. Over the past couple of days, the former world champion was constantly in a state of contemplation as he strategised about bringing this historic Gold medal home. On this day, it looked as if he truly smiled for the first time at the competition.

“Before we came here, I was quietly confident that we were going to get the job done. Regardless of how many more medals we can bring back from this competition, I believe that today, we have achieved our ultimate goal – which is to win Gold in the team event, something that we had set out to do from the very beginning. Whatever else happens now is just a bonus,” said Ong.

“I would like to thank the whole team for believing in each and every one of us. At the end of the day, I think I have already proved my worth as a bowler. As a coach, this is the first major competition that my staff and I are at, so this is a very significant achievement that has reaffirmed all our hard work,” he added.

shayna ng

Team Singapore's Shayna Ng in action during the Women's Trios 2nd block (Photo by Vivek Prakash / Sport Singapore)

 

World champion Ng, who was under pressure over the past few days for her lacklustre performances, capped Tuesday morning's contest off with a stunning final game, scoring 247 pinfalls. She revealed that a chat with the team’s sport psychologist helped immensely.

“We took a walk up the hill behind the arena and talked things out after those disappointing games. I learned that I should just be myself and do my thing, and not give myself added pressure. I'm not going to do that ever again,” Ng said, before admitting that expectations had indeed weighed her down.

She added: “I've come to this competition as Sportswoman of the Year, so there was quite a bit of expectations. Also, at the last Asian Games, I kicked off the competition with a Silver in the singles event, so there was added pressure to maintain or better that record.

“I did take some time to get my form back, but it’s better late than never. I mean, knew that I couldn't simply give up on the team, and especially after all the hard work the coaches have put in. I ended on a high but this doesn't mean that my job is done.”

jazreel tan

Team Singapore's Jazreel Tan in action during the Women's Trios 1st block (Photo by Vivek Prakash / Sport Singapore)

 

For Jazreel, it came as a little bit of shock that she is now the most bemedalled athlete at this year’s Games. While happy to acknowledge the honour, the 25-year-old said she was happier with the team’s achievement and paid tribute to the new head coach’s contributions.

She said: “The preparation leading up this Games brought us so much closer than it has in the last four to five years. The coach has really put in a lot of time and hard work to get us to come together as a team.

“It’s a really great feeling to win this. We’ve come close to winning Gold [at a major competition] so many times and we’ve finally gone out there and showed that we aren’t just there to participate, but to win and show the world who we are.”

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