SEA Games 2019

After the thrills, the tears

From left: Goh Quee Kee, Lim Poh Eng and Shermeen Lim with their golds beating the Philippines 16-13 in the lawn bowls trio final yesterday. Right: There was relief and joy at the end, with the Republic having trailed 8-11 at the Friendship Gate in C
There was relief and joy at the end, with the Republic having trailed 8-11 at the Friendship Gate in Clark.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
From left: Goh Quee Kee, Lim Poh Eng and Shermeen Lim with their golds beating the Philippines 16-13 in the lawn bowls trio final yesterday. Right: There was relief and joy at the end, with the Republic having trailed 8-11 at the Friendship Gate in C
Goh Quee Kee, Lim Poh Eng and Shermeen Lim with their golds beating the Philippines 16-13 in the lawn bowls trio final yesterday.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Trio come from behind to silence home crowd for first lawn bowls gold since 1999

The scene at the end of yesterday's lawn bowl women's triple final needed no interpretation - the trio of Shermeen Lim, Lim Poh Eng and Goh Quee Kee falling into each other's arms in relief and joy.

And why not? They had beaten not just the Philippine team of Nancy Toyco, Asuncion Bruce and Ainie Knight after trailing 11-8 but also withstood the pressure from a raucous home crowd at the Friendship Gate in Clark.

The Singaporeans levelled the match at 12-12 with three ends to go before eventually prevailing 16-13, just as they did in the teams' preliminary-round meeting, 19-14.

It ended the country's two-decade wait for a lawn bowl title at the biennial Games. Rosemary Tessensohn's women's singles title in Brunei 1999 was the last breakthrough.

Games debutante Shermeen, 30, said: "It was a heart-stopping breath that our Singapore supporters held as they watched on.

"Knowing we were so close, our team huddled together often, giving each other encouragement and believing that we could.

"Winning the gold is a fabulous dream come true for our team. We are ecstatic we achieved what we set out to do, to expect the best from each other and to deliver it."

Teammates Poh Eng, 64, and Goh, 60, who last played at the Games in Malaysia in 2001 when they won a bronze in the women's fours, were overcome with emotions after the thrilling match.

Shermeen hopes the historic feat can encourage further development of the sport in Singapore. She said: "It is definitely a significant milestone for bowls as a sport.

"Hopefully, this gold will encourage more people to be curious about the sport and for officials to look into how we can nurture the young through this sport."

Fellow Singaporeans Leong Khim Hoong, Matthew Ngui and Melvin Tan clinched a bronze in the men's triples after beating Thailand 23-14.

Bowls Singapore president Francis Kwong noted: "Now that we have good results and coverage, I hope more people can take part in the sport. It's not just a sport for older people; we'd like to get more schools and tertiary institutions.

"It can help with building camaraderie between people of different generations."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2019, with the headline 'After the thrills, the tears'. Print Edition | Subscribe