Bowling: S'pore record best showing at Under-21 World C'ships with four golds and a bronze

(From left) Ryan Toh, Ning Tay, Joyan Khoo, Quek Lu Yi, Eugene Yeo, Colleen Pee, Mike Ong and Arianne Tay with their medals. PHOTO: SINGAPORE BOWLING FEDERATION

SINGAPORE - Despite fielding mostly debutants at the International Bowling Federation (IBF) Under-21 World Championships, Singapore recorded their best outing at this year’s edition in Helsingborg, Sweden, by clinching four gold medals and a bronze.

Before this, the country’s only gold medal at the tournament – previously known as the World Youth Bowling Championships – came at the 2006 edition in Berlin and was won by current Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF) president Valerie Teo.

This was also the first time that any country had swept all the medals in the women’s events (singles, doubles and team) and claimed four of the seven golds that were up for grabs. The fourth gold came in the mixed team event. 

Praising the achievements, Teo said: “Any win at the world level is never an easy one and we face stiff competition from the get-go.
“The best of youth bowlers from around the world come together to compete and present a collective of many years of hard work, tears, sweat, blood and sacrifices.

“It’s great to see our young keglers stepping up and winning. These wins affirm our youth development efforts and point to assurance of a good strong pipeline of bowlers.”

She also acknowledged that the current format of the competition had made it challenging for the bowlers, who had to show consistency over many rounds that took place over multiple days.

While it was natural that the young bowlers felt the intensity of the competition, having routines in place helped them cope with it.

National head coach Helmi Chew was proud of how his charges were able to deal with the pressure of competing on the world stage.

He said: “As most of them were debutants, they were unsure of the atmosphere at such championships. During singles, some of them felt the heat of the championships, but with having our routines in place and the necessary psych support, we as a team managed to overcome it.”

It was also no easy feat for Pee to bag the four gold medals that she did as all the semi-finals and finals of the events took place on the same day.

At the Olympia Bowling lanes, Colleen Pee led the way as she clinched the women’s singles title, before bagging gold in the women’s doubles with Arianne Tay. Ning Tay and Quek Lu Yi took the bronze.

The quartet then won the women’s team event, before Pee and Arianne Tay teamed up with Joyan Khoo and Ryan Toh to win the mixed team title.

On what enabled her to perform consistently throughout the day, the 18-year-old said: “There was only one thing going through in my mind which was focusing on the process and not anything else.”

The Institute of Technical Education College Central student was also grateful for the support of her teammates and coaches, who she felt were key to the team’s success in Sweden.

She said: “I felt very emotional for every single event as I wouldn’t have done it without the support of my teammates behind me.

“The bond between us within the team enabled the team and me to do well at these world championships as we were supporting one another till the very last shot of the competition.”

For Khoo, who was part of the gold medal-winning mixed team, there were many lessons to learn from the U-21 World Championships outing.

He said: “It was an eye-opening experience. Watching the best from other countries bowl impressed me with how much talent there is outside of Singapore. 

“But at the same time, the fact that we were able to walk away with so many gold medals meant that Singapore is a force to be reckoned with internationally.”

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