One gold, thee silver and one bronze
24th November, Guangzhou: It was a well earned silver for Singapore national bowler, Cherie Tan despite losing to Korean, Hwang Sun-Ok 472-482 in a thrilling Women's Masters two-game title match at the concluding 16th Asian Games on Wednesday. Cherie Tan, who was tenth in the first block yesterday, crawled her way back to qualify for the stepladder finals in third from seven wins and a scratch score of 1680 plus 70 pins bonus.
One of her wins included the crucial position round match against third-placed, Sharon Koh of Malaysia. Tan was in fourth trailing Sharon by 19 pins going into the 16th match where she struck out in her final frame to beat the Malaysian, 222-216 to add 10 pins bonus for the win and edged her opponent by 2 pins to make the stepladder cut.
In the first match against No. 2 seed, Choi Jin-A of Korea, she went on a strikefest reeling in seven consecutive strikes and leaving her opponent no chance of any catching up. She romped home a convincing victory over Choi, 266-191 to earn a crack at the title and to meet another Korean and top seed, Hwang Sun-Ok.
In the first game, Tan started with a double and a spare in the third while Hwang struck, spared and struck in her first three frames. The Singaporean lass rolled five consecutive strikes and the Korean responded with five of her own.
But Tan could not get an much needed strike in the ninth frame as Hwang struck out to take the first match, 278-258. Tan had a clean game in the second and was leading the Korean by 10 pins until the final frame when she encountered a 6-7 split and the chance looked bleak.
Incredibly, she spared the split and struck in her final throw to end with 214 forcing the Korean to mark. For once, Tan had put the mighty Korean under pressure for the first time in this championship.
As cool as a cucumber and only needing to mark her last frame, Hwang cooly delivered the goods at the crucial time to finish with 204. The two game total of 482 from Hwang robbed Tan, who totaled 472, of a gold medal.
"I did my best but I lost to a better bowler," said the slightly disappointed Cherie Tan. "I was completely comfortable and in control over the first Korean and I really had a go at Hwang in the second match.
"It would have been great to take home another gold. I had actually not expected to reach this far so I cannot be that disappointed.
"I'm happy with my performance in thess games with one gold and one silver medal," added Cherie, who won the gold in the Trios with Geraldine Ng and Shayna Ng.
"Cherie Tan displayed the courage of a lioness," said Ms Jessie Phua, who was at Tianhe Bowling Hall to watch the match. "She is what our development programme is all about. To build them up to challenge the best.
"I'm happy for her and I'm happy for the rest who have won medals at this games. We'll now work even harder so that we can move up to the next level. Credit must also be given to the coaches, who have long hours and little sleep this past two weeks."
Shayna Ng, who was third overnight, won only two of her eight matches and a total of 3278 to end her campaign in 12th position.
Meanwhile, Korea had a double celebration when top seed, Choi Bok-Eum easily defeated challenger and No. 3 seed, Mohammed Al Rageebah of Kuwait, 462-327 in the Men's title match to win his third gold medal.
Mohammed had earlier edged No. 2 seed, Du Jianchao of China, 215-208 to face Choi. Mohammed took home his second silver medal. The Kuwaiti won the silver in the Singles event on the opening day.
The only Singapore men in the finals, Jason Yeong-Nathan ended the second block one rung lower than in the first block in 11th position with 3372.
The dominating Koreans also took home 8 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze medals, their best-ever outing. Malaysia finished second overall with 2-1-1 while Singapore grabbed third spot with a 1-3-1 medal haul. The only other country to win a gold was Philippines in the Men's Singles on the opening day.
Detailed scores: Women's Stepladder | Women's Masters Block 2 | Men's Masters Block 2.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Guangzhou.