Featuring some of the Republic's top para-keglers, the bowling competition of the 10th National Disability League attracted a total of 50 participants, split across eight disability classes.
The 50-strong field was the most in the league’s ten year history.
Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) executive director Henry Tan, who graced the event as the Guest-of-Honour, was pleased with the turnout at the competition venue.
Singapore Disability Sports Council executive director Henry Tan (right) poses for a photo with Reuben Khanal. Photo: Sport Singapore
“The number of athletes has increased and that speaks well for the sport,” he said.
Urging the athletes to “bring more friends”, Tan added: “With more athletes around, competition will be keen and performance standards will definitely go up.
Echoing Tan’s sentiments, Bowling Association for the Disabled (Singapore) [BADS] general manager Kelvin Koh added: “Support for para-sport in general has been improving, and you get people coming up to ask and finding out how they can volunteer and help out.
“With media helping to generate awareness, knowledge of para-sport has definitely gone up, and that is unlike the past, where hardly anyone bothered and we even had a hard time getting volunteers.”
The competition, co-organised by SDSC and the Bowling Association for the Disabled (Singapore), serves as a prelude to the upcoming ASEAN Para Games, which will be held in Singapore for the first time in history.
“Some of our athletes have qualified for the Para Games, and to everyone who missed the cut, train hard, because we still have two years to go before the next Games in Malaysia,” said Tan.
A competitor, Thomas Yong, in action. Photo: Sport Singapore
The best three keglers in each category walked home with prizes, including FairPrice cash vouchers.
Among those was Special Olympics athlete Reuben Khanal, who topped the Under-17 B4 category.
The down syndrome patient, who picked up bowling as a regular activity to improve his coordination skills, now plays for Yio Chu Kang Community Sports Club during the Community Games, an annual island-wide tournament organised by the People's Association.
Currently studying at the APSN Katong School, the 16-year-old was accompanied by his single mother, Lynda Walter.
Heartened by the increasing support given to para-athletes, Walter said: “Despite missing out on the chance to compete at the ASEAN Para Games, the committee gave Reuben a chance to participate in the Games somehow, by performing at the opening and closing ceremonies.”
Another competitor, Ivan Lin, bowling during the 10th National Disability League. Photo: Sport Singapore
Commenting that the public has been increasingly welcoming towards para-athletes, the 48-year-old added: "With the Games coming up, I can see that there are more chances given to them (para-athletes) and there are more competitions for them to participate in."