SINGAPORE - The Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF) believes the emergence of a new wave of female keglers will give the team an added boost at this year's Women's World Bowling Championships.
At the last two editions held in 2015 and 2017, the SBF had fielded an identical sextet - sisters Cherie and Daphne Tan, Shayna Ng, New Hui Fen, Jazreel Tan and Joey Yeo - as they won a team bronze and silver respectively. Ng remains Singapore's only gold medallist in the competition with her All Events title in 2015.
For this year's tournament in Las Vegas, Jazreel and Yeo have been replaced by Bernice Lim and Charlene Lim. The latter is only 20 but showed her potential with her victory in May's Malaysian International Open.
Charlene said: "I am honoured to be part of the Singapore team... This is a dream come true and I aim to do my best and do my best to do Singapore proud.
"I would like to learn more about lane play and how the team communicate efficiently. When it comes to bowling, it is between me and the lanes and I want to just concentrate and bowl my best.
"I hope being with the stars on our team can make me one soon. I am a fighter and my teammates can count on me to give my best and never hang my head when the going gets tough."
National coach Jason Yeong-Nathan said while there were internal selection criteria for the Aug 22-30 World Championships, Charlene's performance against an elite field at the Sunway Mega Lanes in Petaling Jaya tipped things in her favour when the technical team deliberated over the make-up of the squad.
He said: "We hope Charlene's selection signifies to our top youth bowlers like Iliya Syamin and Amabel Chua that if they continue to improve and prove themselves by doing well in senior competitions, they will be given opportunities to compete in senior majors.
"I believe this team have what it takes to do well in the Women's World Bowling Championships and if they play to their true potential, they will do Singapore proud."
Over the years, the SBF has develop a pool of world class female bowlers able to hold their own against powerhouses South Korea and Malaysia.
Now, a new generation is knocking at the door of the senior team. Aside from Charlene's win, Iliya, 20, bagged the Hong Kong International Open masters title last month, while Chua, 19, captured the Philippine International Open masters crown in June.
Yeong-Nathan said: "Singapore Bowling believes in providing the young players with many opportunities to compete in overseas tournaments at their levels of development. The success of our top youth bowlers is due to their determination to keep improving their game.
"Allowing them to compete in international competitions alongside experienced seniors whom they look up to motivates them to up their game, while the close collaboration based on trust between coaches and players is also vital in producing success."
SBF president Jessie Phua hopes the keen competition for spots in team events will spur the squad to greater heights, but assured the old guard still have a part to play if they are up for the challenge.
She added: "We have a world-class group of women bowlers and we are delighted to see the likes of Charlene, Amabel and Iliya win international tournaments in recent months.
"Our goal has always been to make them better and grow the depth of this group. Even as we aim to develop the next crop of world-beaters, as long as they perform, the door is always open for the senior players who have served the sport with distinction."