SINGAPORE - The rejuvenation of the national men's bowling team received another boost on Monday (March 5) as Singapore swept the podium positions at the H.H. Emir Cup in Doha, Qatar.
Second seed Basil Ng captured his first international title after beating eighth seed Jaris Goh 387-374 (196-204, 191-170) in the two-game, total-pin final at the Qatar Bowling Centre.
Ng earned US$10,000 ($13,200) and Goh, US$6,000. Compatriot Suresh Elangovan shared third place with Hong Kong's Ivan Tse and each took home US$3,500.
Ng, a 20-year-old Republic Polytechnic student, told The Straits Times: "The crucial factor was focusing on the process and not what my opponents were doing.
"This is my biggest individual win and, while I definitely have aspirations to win major titles, I recognise the importance of taking things one step at a time.
"I'm very happy not just with this win, but also how our team finished in the top three and five out of the six of us here made it to the final round of 32, which shows the strength of our team."
Besides the trio, the Republic's Darren Ong and Cai Ming En also qualified for the round-robin match play reserved for the top 32 in a field of 66 bowlers from 12 countries.
The strong performance comes on the back of a surprise team gold at last August's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, where Keith Saw, Timothy Tham, Cheah Ray Han, Ng, Goh and Ong stunned two-time defending champions Malaysia.
With a base of 20 players pushing each other, said Singapore assistant coach Helmi Chew, the men can continue to upset the odds in major competitions such as the Asian Games in August despite the presence of powerhouses South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and hosts Indonesia.
Chew added: "This past week, they did very well to adapt to the conditions and played according to what we practised.
"After winning the SEA Games team gold, the men's team have stayed grounded and worked hard.
"If they continue with this attitude, they can go on to earn more success."
At the last Asiad in Incheon, South Korea, Singapore won one gold, two silvers and one bronze medal - all delivered by the women.
The men's last continental medal came at the 2010 Guangzhou Games, a doubles bronze for Jason Yeong-Nathan and Remy Ong. Both bowlers have retired.