Bowling: Amabel's amazing silver medal

Amabel Chua ranked 19th among the 24 Masters qualifiers. Against long odds, she went all the way to the final, losing 1-2 to Malaysia's Natasha Roslan.
Amabel Chua ranked 19th among the 24 Masters qualifiers. Against long odds, she went all the way to the final, losing 1-2 to Malaysia's Natasha Roslan.PHOTO: ASIAN BOWLING FEDERATION

Nervous Singaporean takes one shot at a time, eliminating big names to reach Masters final

She had arrived on the world stage but it was a basic instruction that carried Amabel Chua to an unexpected silver medal.

"Focus on the process no matter the outcome", played on repeat in the 16-year-old Singaporean's mind.

The advice proved its value as she finished second in the Masters Finals of the World Bowling Youth Championships in Lincoln, Nebraska, losing 1-2 to Malaysia's Natasha Roslan (158-190, 245-236, 187-227).

SUPERLATIVES

I don't really know what word to use. For her to perform so well at her first big major competition. Fantastic? Maybe super, great?

FRANCIS YEO, the Singapore Bowling Federation's head coach, on the Sports School student's astounding achievement.

American Gazmine Mason and Japan's Mirai Ishimoto finished as bronze medallists.

The silver medal is Singapore's best-ever result in the Masters event of the tournament and ends a four-year medal drought at the World Youth Championships.

"Of course I was nervous," admitted the Singapore Sports School student in a phone interview with The Straits Times, "but taking one shot at a time and focusing on the process really helped."

She was Singapore's youngest female representative at the tournament, which is open to keglers aged 21 and below.

She ranked 19th among the 24 qualifiers. The women's competition comprised 79 bowlers from 24 teams.

In the Masters Finals, she took out big names like 2015 European youth champion Filippa Persson and top qualifier Mason to reach the final and send shockwaves through the Singapore bowling fraternity in the wee hours of yesterday.

"I didn't even expect to qualify for (Masters Girls) Step 3," said Amabel, who lists two-time Singapore Sportsgirl of the Year, Jazreel Tan, as her bowling idol.

The Singapore Bowling Federation's head coach Francis Yeo was speechless at the teen's performance.

He said: "I don't really know what word to use. For her to perform so well at her first big major competition. Fantastic? Maybe super, great?

"She really surprised me in the final coming in with a low rank and taking out so many big names.

"She was so calm and cool, especially in the finals.

"In Singapore bowling we try to get as many world champions as possible and she definitely has the potential to be one of them."

SingaporeBowling's executive director Mervyn Foo extended his praise to the rest of the team.

"We are very proud of Amabel and the team's performance. This is a good platform to build for next year's SEA Games and Asian Games.

"Everyone can bowl but putting on that 'Team Singapore' shirt at that level is not easy," he said.

He noted that the support the bowlers get from Sport Singapore and the Singapore Sports Institute is a large contributor to the team's success: "It's not just funding but support from the physiotherapists and the sports psychologists that's really benefited us."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2016, with the headline 'Amabel's amazing silver medal'. Print Edition | Subscribe