15th November, Malacca: Singapore will be looking to enter into the record books with another victory at the 45th QuabicaAMF Bowling World Cup when it gets underway at the 52-lane Melaka International Bowling Center on Monday.
Remy Ong, making in his fifth appearance, will be a strong contender for the men's title. Ong has had two podium finishes with the best performance in Latvia in 2002 where the 31-year-old was denied Singapore's first-ever victory and settling for first runnerup.
In 2004 when the prestigious World Cup was hosted in Singapore, Ong again came close with a third place finish in which Norway's Petter Hansen emerged the champion. The Singaporean southpaw will be hoping to make history again by becoming the first men to capture the elusive title.
In the women's division, Bernice Lim upstaged her more senior national teammates, including the reigning champion, Jasmine Yeong-Nathan in the roll-off to claim her opportunity to represent the country at this year's World Cup.
The 18-year-old Lim has been promoted into the national ranks after being in the development squad for several years. Her big break came when she claimed her first international title by capturing the 2006 Indonesian Open Women's Masters title at the age of just 15.
She went on to win the 2007 Asian Intercity Women's Masters gold medal and a Team bronze medal at the 2008 Asian Championship in Hong Kong. She will be hoping to emulate Jasmine's success in the championship.
Meanwhile, it's systems all go at the 52-lane Melaka International Bowling Center where the championship will be held over the week.
Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam, the Chief Minister of Melaka, in a Press Conference yesterday, expressed his satisfaction with the preparations for the championship and was confident that the world bowling fraternity will have the best facilities, accommodation, hospitality and a memorable experience of Melaka.
"We're all ready to welcome the world bowling fraternity," declared Mohd Ali. "Melaka is indeed proud to have been given the opportunity to hold a world-class event like the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup, where more than 90 countries and about 150 bowlers will compete.
"It's indeed an honour to Melaka and to Malaysia, where the championship is only coming to our shores for the second time in the
45 years history of the championship. (The championship was first hosted at the Miramar Bowl in Kuala Lumpur in 1987." Mohd Ali later visited the state-of-the art 52 lanes (split house - 26-26 lanes) MIBC located in Air Keroh which was officially opened by him on August 1.
The bowlers will take to the lanes for their official practice today for two 2-hour sessions for the men and another two 2-hour sessions for the women in the afternoon.
The official opening ceremony graced by the Chief Minister of Melaka will be held at the ballroom of the official Hotel Equatorial this evening.
Bowlers from 87 countries will bowl three blocks of 8 games each over the nest three days where the field will be cut to 24 for another 8 games, pinfalls carried forward. The field will be further cut down to 8 for the knockout stage.
Three international stations - ESPN, Eurosports and Fox TV, will also be giving daily coverage on the event while Astro SuperSports (Channel 811) will carry live the semifinals and final on Thursday.