Bowling: ‘Dream come true’ as S’pore athletes win Deaflympics medals

Singaporean bowler Adelia Yokoyama celebrating on the podium after winning the women's singles gold at the 24th Deaflympics in Selangor, Malaysia. PHOTO: DEAF SPORTS ASSOCIATION

SINGAPORE – Singaporean bowlers have delivered a gold and a silver at the 24th Deaflympics in Selangor.

Last Sunday, Adelia Naomi Yokoyama finished first in the women’s singles event, breezing past top seed and 2019 World Deaf Bowling champion Lin Hsiang-tzu 206-177 in the semi-finals, before prevailing against another Taiwanese Hsueh Hsiu-chen, 176-165 in the final.

The 23-year-old, who will be aiming to retain her Masters gold on Sunday, said: “I feel extremely happy and felt it was a dream come true to be able to win more medals this time round for our team and for our country.”

The Singaporean kegler returned to the lanes on Tuesday to team up with Kimberly Quek to claim a silver in the women’s doubles – they were beaten 191-168 by South Korea’s Park Sun-ok and Lee Chan-mi.

Quek, 22, said: “I’m just relieved to see that my hard work paid off and we had moved on from the last Deaflympics where Naomi and I just missed the cut for the finals.

“I felt that the lanes were not easy here and felt overwhelmed with stress. I am grateful for the team’s support in helping me bounce back and clinch the silver with Naomi.”

Their coach William Woo praised his charges’ commitment.

Thanking their sponsor UOL Group Ltd, the former national bowling coach said: “Naomi and Kimberly have put in lot of effort and time preparing for this major event. Returning home with a gold and silver is awesome. I am very happy and proud of their performance.

“As this is my first experience going into a major bowling competition for the deaf and hard of hearing, the challenge I faced was communication. We tried using written messages when making tactical adjustments and managed to speed up the moves by using some sign language. Having our sign interpreter was indeed a great help.”

Held every four years, the Deaflympics are an elite-level, multi-sport event sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Unlike the athletes in other IOC-sanctioned events such as the Paralympics, those competing in the Deaflympics cannot be guided by sounds (such as starting pistols, bullhorn commands or referee whistles).

The 2021 edition was held in Caxias do Sul, Brazil, from May 1 to 15 after a five-month postponement owing to the pandemic, with the bowling tournament hosted in Selangor from Oct 20 to 30.

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