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Nice girls don't finish last

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Our Sporting Hero. My Neighbour. Jazreel Tan.

“In the future, if people don’t remember me by my performance, I would rather them remember me as a nice person. I just hope to leave a good impression on people when I leave the spotlight”, Jazreel humbly replies when asked about how she wants to be remembered, and she is well on her way to that goal.

We had the pleasure of speaking to Singapore’s accomplished national bowler whose passion and love for fried food and everything else delicious, is only outweighed by her love for bowling.

Getting to know our national bowler

Q: Where is your area of residence?

A: Bukit Timah. I moved here last August from Serangoon. I stayed in Bukit Timah when I was younger before and I have moved around quite a bit since, but now I’m back here again.

Q: How long have you resided in your neighbourhood?

A: I have actually stayed in Bukit Timah for about 10 years in my entire life but only about a year since my last shift.

Q: What is the one thing you like most about your neighbourhood?

A: I like that it is convenient to get to a lot of places. My family eats at home a lot but when we get bored of home cooked food, we'll buy back from the many eating places around the area.

Q: What is the one thing you least like about your neighbourhood?

A: Traffic can get a bit crazy during peak hours.

Q: What drove you to your current sport?

A: My brother and I used to swim at the Singapore Swimming Club when we were younger. While I was still swimming, he would go to the bowling alley next to the swimming pool. When I was done, I would wash up and watch him bowl. Slowly, I just fell out of love with swimming and started throwing balls because I thought it would be fun. There was also air conditioning so that was a plus point. At that point in time, swimming was just tiring to me while bowling was something new and fun. I really wanted to try it out. I got really curious about every little thing about bowling, and quickly wanted to know and learn everything. That was at the end of primary 6, and by secondary 1, I knew the coach from MGS and he was the one who encouraged me to take up bowling and I joined the school team then. That’s how it all started.

Q: What was the one moment that most inspired you to be a sportsperson?

A: I always knew I wanted to be a sportsperson as I was involved in sports from a very young age. I just never imagined myself not doing sports. My brother and I were also always relatively good at the sports that we did. I would probably die if I had to stay at a desk from 9-5.

Q: What is the most interesting memory you have when playing your sport?

A: Throughout my entire career as a bowler, the one thing I enjoyed the most was the travelling, not just because I can visit new countries, but because I get to learn about different cultures and meet new people. I am happy to say that I still keep in touch with a lot of the bowlers from overseas and I have even managed to get close to quite a few of them, even up until now. We might not see each other often but we still remain good friends. Without sports, I would never have had the opportunity to meet these people.

Q: What is the most embarrassing moment you’ve had while playing your sport?

A: I have dropped the ball behind me and I have fallen flat on the lane before as well. When you bowl, you have to slide before releasing the ball. Some bowling centers can have very slippery lanes that make it very easy for us to slip and fall down. It is slightly embarrassing until the pain takes over and I don’t even care about the embarrassment anymore. I am quite clumsy in general actually.

Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals before a major sporting event?

A: I will listen to music. They usually include K-Pop, Mando-Pop, or music from other Asian artists. I’ve recently started to listen to English music too.

Q: If you were not allowed to play your current sport, which other sport would you pick up?

A: Frisbee or soccer. I used to play soccer when I was younger but I don’t play so much anymore. I have been playing Frisbee with a group of friends for the past eight years but because of some recurring injuries I have been playing much less in the last three years. It was by orders from my physiotherapist as Frisbee could worsen those injuries.

Q: What was the best advice you were ever given?

A: ‘’Never give up’’ and also to be present at every training session. By this I mean, quality over quantity. You can put in as many hours as the next athlete but if you are not fully present and putting in the right amount of hours and effort into each training session, then you will just be wasting that training session.

Q: Who is your idol or the one person you aspire to emulate?

A: Biboy Rivera from the Philippines. He is also a bowler. I think he just turned 40 this year and he has been at the top of his game for the past 20 years. Some people just stop learning as they get older but for not him. He has won pretty much every bowling championship one can think of. He also keeps himself very fit, very humble and basically a very nice person to talk to. Judging by how much he has won and gone through over the last 20-30 years, it is amazing how he is still so humble and hungry to learn. It would be amazing if I could one day be like him.

Q: What is the one thing not even your friends know about you?

A: I don’t eat vegetables, though I think a lot of people know that now. I have been trying to add more vegetables into my diet because I am not getting any younger.

Q: What is your one food based guilty-pleasure?

A: Everything unhealthy you can think of. Fried food, chocolates and potato chips.

Q: Which country have you travelled to that has really left a mark on you?

A: The United Stated. I studied there for 4 years previously. I get a sudden rush of happiness every time I go back to the country.

Q: If you had the chance to have a superpower, which would you choose?

A: Teleportation. I would love to be able to instantly travel wherever I want to. Given our tight schedules every day and lack of ability to be able to plan overseas holidays ahead of time, being able to teleport would make things a lot easier.

Q: Where do you draw your strength from? 

A: From the people who support me. They mainly include my family and friends and they are the ones who give me the motivation to keep going.

Q: How would you want the community to remember you by?

A: I want them to remember me as a good person and also one who inspires others. Like Biboy, people not only remember him as a good bowler but they also remember him as a nice and humble person. In the future, if people don’t remember me by my performances, I would rather them remember me as a nice person. I just want to leave a good impression on people when I leave the spotlight.

Q: What would your ideal day be like?

A: Right now, I would just like a day without any plans so I can sloth around at home, or anywhere really. Basically just to have some time for myself.

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