Give bowling more prominence

Cherie Tan has won titles at the World Bowling Women's Championships and QubicaAMF PWBA Players Championship, claiming the Masters gold in Las Vegas before clinching a second victory in North Carolina.
Cherie Tan has won titles at the World Bowling Women's Championships and QubicaAMF PWBA Players Championship, claiming the Masters gold in Las Vegas before clinching a second victory in North Carolina.PHOTO: PWBA TOUR

Every so often, our bowlers manage to grab a little limelight from the footballers, table tennis players and swimmers, who hog the headlines despite the fact that the bowling fraternity has actually garnered far more glory for Singapore than any other sport (Tan scores double strike, Sept 10).

As individuals, bowling luminaries like Henry Tan, Remy Ong and, now, Cherie Tan have won silver or gold medals at international events. The men's bowling team won a bronze at the World Men's Championship last year.

With the exception of Joseph Schooling in swimming and Tan Howe Liang in weightlifting, I can think of no other native athletes in the Singapore sporting arena who can boast podium finishes as the world's best.

Where disciplines are strongly dependent on stature and strength and are not class-rated, Asians stand disadvantaged. We tend to perform better in sports that place a premium on flexibility, balance, agility, accuracy and sheer steely-mindedness, qualities that our bowlers possess in spades.

Should we continue flogging a dead horse by promoting dead-end sports where our achievements won't come to anything beyond regional success, or should Sport Singapore dedicate more of its precious resources towards sports like bowling, which time and again have churned out world champions to prove that the achievements are not flukes?

Arianne Tay of Methodist Girls' School, at just 14 years of age and one of the youngest contestants, won the girls' World Junior Bowling crown in March. There are many like her who can be nurtured to their fullest potential

Bowling should be given much more prominence in schools, as should the establishment of more affordable neighbourhood bowling centres and academies to make the sport more popular still.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2019, with the headline 'Give bowling more prominence'. Print Edition | Subscribe