Singapore bowlers in high spirit

13th November, Guangzhou: Singapore national bowlers competing at the 16th Asian Games were in high spirit after their first day of official practice on the short oil conditions at Tianhe Bowling Hall on Saturday. 95 men and 75 women, less 6 men from Uzbekistan who did not show up and 2 women from India pulling out due to injuries, took to the lanes at 38-lane AMF Tianhe Bowling Hall at the Tianhe Sports Centre.

The 16 countries were divided into three squads and each team, who has a men and a women team, had eight lanes while a single team country had four lanes. The first day of official practice was on the short oil pattern.

The second day of official practice will be over the long oil pattern before competition starts proper with the Men's Singles on November 15 and the Women's Singles on November 16.   While the competition will get underway in earnest, there were disappointment expressed by most of the team here. It was mainly centered on the lack of space in the bowling hall to accommodate even for coaches, team officials and team-mates.

Most of the space are being taken up by the TV broadcasters, media personnel and VIP seatings such that only two from each country will be allowed at the stands. The rest will have to sit it out at the athletes rest area while their team-mates are on the lanes.

Asian Bowling Federation made a concerted effort to find space to accommodate but there was simply none to spare at all. Family members and friends who have travelled to Guangzhou will be hughly disappointed. Meanwhile, the grand opening ceremony was held yesterday evening on Haixinsha Island in the Pearl River and at a stadium next to the river. The capacity crowd were entertained to a spectacular display by art performances, fireworks and clockwork routines throughout the ceremony.

The Premier of the Peoples' Republic of China, Wen Jiabao officially declared the games open witnessed by the President of the Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and the President of the IOC, Jacques Roggs in front of athletes from 45 participating countries.

The Singapore contingent paraded at the opening ceremony with bowler, Jasmine Yeong-Nathan as the flag bearer. She was joined by her team-mates, Cherie Tan, Geraldine Ng, Jazreel Tan, New Hui Fen, Shayna Ng.   The men's team comprising of Basil Low, Benjamine Lim, Jason Yeong-Nathan, Mark Wong, Ng Tiac Pin and Remy Ong together with officials, Melvin Lim, Henry Tan, Mervyn Foo, William Woo and Francis Teo.

  Photos by Terence Yaw in Guangzhou.