On the hunt for her fourth gold at the 26th Asian Tenpin Bowling Championships in Hong Kong, Cherie Tan’s goal appeared to be out of reach after the first block of eight games in the women’s Masters on Tuesday, when she ended the day ninth in the standings.
But the 34-year-old dug her heels in and fought back game by game in the second block on Wednesday. She worked her way up the leaderboard to finish as top seed with 3,980 pinfalls to book her spot in the stepladder final.
And the pressure was off as Cherie was joined by younger sister Daphne (3,963) and teammate New Hui Fen (3,941), after they finished second and third to qualify for the stepladder and give Singapore a clean sweep of the Masters medals.
In the stepladder semi-finals, New beat Daphne 265-221 to advance to the two-game play-off against top seed Cherie at the South China Athletic Association Bowling Centre.
Cherie won both games to beat New 481-351 to the gold.
She said: “It was great to end the tournament on a high with another gold medal. My first block of the Masters wasn’t ideal and I’m glad I managed to make up the shortfall and eventually win...
“In all honesty, having all three Singaporeans make the stepladders took the pressure off and we could enjoy bowling the finals.”
Her triumph in the Masters event on Wednesday capped a brilliant campaign in Hong Kong, where she was the most bemedalled athlete with four golds in the singles, trios, all-events and Masters, as well as a women’s team silver.
The veteran bowler’s stellar start to 2023 comes as no surprise after a fruitful 2022 season when she won three individual titles – the SEA Games women’s singles gold, Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) Bowl TV Classic and Singapore International Open.
She was also the top female bowler at the Brunswick Euro Challenge.
On what helps her perform consistently, she said: “I think never taking things for granted and continuing to improve and reflect after every tournament helps.
“Also, hard work is paramount and I do my best to give 100 per cent at every training session.”
The result is the Singapore national team’s best showing at the tournament as they won five gold, three silver and three bronze medals.
Their previous best was at the 2015 and 2016 Asian championships where they won two golds and a silver.
Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF) national senior head coach Jason Yeong-Nathan was pleased with his charges, saying: “The team performance was great this competition. The happiest thing was to see them work as a team – there’s still room for improvement in this area but I am happy with what I am seeing.
“They spent the last two years working hard on their game individually, I am glad their hard work paid off.”
SBF president Valerie Teo said: “We are extremely proud of the whole team. Bringing home five golds, three silver and three bronzes at an Asian-level event is no easy feat.
“Finishing as the top country at the championships is the icing on the cake.
“This triumph is a testament to our athletes and coaches’ hard work and dedication, and we extend our deepest gratitude to our supporters, friends and family, for none of this would be possible without them.
“This is a huge confidence boost and we’ll continue to groom our athletes and forge on to new heights.”