Success just as sweet for Ong after long layoff

Winning the Jakarta event yesterday earned former world champion Remy Ong a cheque for $1,000.
Winning the Jakarta event yesterday earned former world champion Remy Ong a cheque for $1,000.

Remy Ong rolled back the years yesterday and won his first bowling title since he returned to the competitive lanes last November.

But to the 37-year-old former world champion, it felt like a long wait for another taste of glory.

An hour after his victory at the Asian Bowling Federation (ABF) Tour Indonesia, the Singaporean could not hide his jubilation, saying: "At last, man, at last. It's been a very long while. It feels great."

"Coming back was not an easy task, after stopping for three years. It's not easy having to compete against bowlers who are training every day.

"But I'm slowly getting the feel and the flow back, all the magic touches that were lost in the past three years are coming back."

In yesterday's final at Jaya Ancol Bowling Centre in Jakarta, Ong beat Kim Bolleby of Thailand 254-210 to pocket $1,000 in prize money.

Ong's latest cash booty might not be as big as those he achieved during his younger days, but victory still tasted as sweet as before.

The two-time Sportsman of the Year (2003 and 2007) was crowned world champion at the 2006 Men's World Championships. Before that, he had bagged a hat-trick of gold medals at the 2002 Asian Games.

The kegler said: "Just now, at that moment when I won, it felt like 10 years back.

"But hopefully this (victory) will not be the only one to come."

Despite his three-year absence, Ong never really left the bowling lanes.

He was appointed the national coach in February 2014, a post he held before deciding at the end of last year to give competitive bowling another shot.

But the challenge for Ong was to juggle running his digital marketing company, Sponzer Group, and his professional playing career.

"I took this path again, I know that it's a bit different now because I have to balance between work and bowling.

'I've always been a competitive person. When I set myself goals, I want to make sure I achieve them."

Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2016, with the headline 'Success just as sweet for Ong after long layoff'. Print Edition | Subscribe