School sports

Schools: Two hands are better for this bowler

ST VIDEO: NICOLE CHIA
ACS (Barker)’s Jonathan Vincent Lum, 15, releasing the bowling ball using the “two-handed” style on his way to the singles title. It was the only B Division boys’ category that Singapore Sports School missed out on.
ACS (Barker)’s Jonathan Vincent Lum, 15, releasing the bowling ball using the “two-handed” style on his way to the singles title. It was the only B Division boys’ category that Singapore Sports School missed out on. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Amid the rows of bowlers at the Temasek Club yesterday, Jonathan Vincent Lum stood out with his unconventional technique.

While his competitors relied solely on their dominant hand, the 15-year-old uses the rarely-seen "two-handed" bowling style to knock down strikes.

It may be unorthodox but has proven to be successful for the Anglo-Chinese-School (Barker Road) Secondary 3 student, who clinched the Schools National B Division boys' singles title. He had 1,265 pinfalls, ahead of the Singapore Sports School duo of Owen Wong (1,225) and Leong Weng Hong (1,215).

Jonathan, whose favourite bowler is three-time Professional Bowlers Association player of the year, Jason Belmonte, also a "two-handed" bowler, said: "It's very humbling to win, all the commitment and discipline paid off."

He had picked up the sport at the age of 10 and bowled traditionally with only his right hand. But he struggled and rarely scored more than 100 in a game.

His private coach A.P. Yong suggested a change in June 2015, stating that using two hands would lead to him performing better as his wrists were naturally flexible. The adjustment was slow and difficult at first, said his mother Lynda.

Part of the training involved Jonathan wearing 1kg weights on his legs and rubber rings on his head to improve his balance.

He recalled: "A lot of my friends, family members, and other coaches came up to me and asked me why I didn't stick to my usual style of playing."

But he continued persevering to perfect his technique.

His gold medal prevented a clean sweep of the boys' events by SSP, who captured the doubles, quartet, all-events and overall titles - ACS (Barker) finished fifth.

It was a competition to savour for the SSP contingent, who added the girls' singles, quartet and overall titles to their haul.

Captain Alena Dang, who won the singles title last Wednesday, was delighted to see her team retain their overall crown.

The Secondary 4 student said: "(This win) is an overall team effort. Everyone worked hard together and didn't focus too much about the scores; we just supported one another as team-mates."

Jean Tow, 15, one of the four who claimed gold in the quartet event, was relieved her team-mates managed to pick themselves up after facing a "low point" during the doubles competition on Monday, when they lost to Methodist Girls' School.

She said: "We told ourselves it wasn't the end and that we should keep fighting."

•Additional reporting by Nicole Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2017, with the headline 'Two hands are better for this bowler'. Print Edition | Subscribe