Singapore ready for the challenge

25th June, Singapore: The 8 young bowlers selected to represent Singapore in the inaugural Asian Youth Games Tenpin Bolwing Championship are ready for the challenges from the competing nations come July 1 at Orchid Bowl. Christopher Hwang, Justin Lim Chun Liang, Krishna Darshini, New Hui Fen, Brandon Lee, Basil Low, Anthea Soh, Ilma Nur Jannah Bte Fadzal will spearhead the nation's challenge for honour and glory.

Twelve young bowlers, who attended training camp held at the Orchid Country Club in May, were eventually shortlisted to 8 - four boys and four girls. The intensive 3-day stay-in camp, organised by Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF) from May 19 to 21 was the final preparation phase of the Asian Youth Games.

The camp consisted of various training sessions with nutritional and psychology workshops conducted to prepare the bowlers physically and mentally.   "The training was most unforgetable. There was a simulation of the actual tournament. We were divided into teams of 4, and competed against each other," said Basil Low, 16, who came in second in the 2008 Penang Pesta Under-16 Masters.

His team-mate, New Hui Fen, who was the champion in the same category, expressed her optimism to excel in the team event.

"The camp enabled us to develop stronger bonds with each other, which is improtant for the team event," quipped the 17-year-old Hui Fen, who also bagged two gold medals at the Asian Intercity Championship in Macau last year.

The camp also witnessed the induction of two external consultants from the US. According to Henry Tan, coach for the Singapore bowling team, "The primary role of the consultants is to prepare the equipment for different lane conditions so that the bowlers can maximise their strikes."

"The consultants provide a different school of thought. Their presence contributes to a well-rounded training experience for the bowlers." In an assessment of Singapore's main rivals during the Games, Tan listed Malaysia and Korea as well-established powers.

According to Tan, each bowler was evaluated based on a list of selection criteria which indlude their performance, ability to be a team player as well as his or her mental perseverance. More importantly, their ability to adapt to different situations and how well thay can take instructions also contributed to the final selection.

When asked if there was any competition amongst them to perform well during the camp, Justin Lim Chun Liang, 16 summed it up well, "It was already a bonus for me to be selected and attend this training camp let alone making the squad."

Bowlers will start to arrive Singapore on or before June 29 and the official practice sessions will take place on June 30 followed by the opening ceremony and team managers' meeting.

The boys will kick off the championship with the Singles on July 1 in the morning and the Girl's Singles in the afternoon. The Doubles will be contested on July 2. The team events will be held on July 3 and 4 over two blocks of 3 games each.

The top 16 boys and top 16 girls at the end of three events (18 games) in the All EVents standings will make the cut for the Round-Robin Masters finals over two days on July 5 and 6.

  Photos by SBF.