SINGAPORE - After placing 10th in the all-events category at the Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championships on Tuesday (April 23), Xavier Teo upped his game to win the boys' Masters Final on the final day of the April 17-25 tournament on Thursday.
The 18-year-old trailed overnight leader Shahrukh Amin of Malaysia by 38 pins after the first block of eight games, but came back strongly in the second block on Thursday to finish the 16-game stage with 3,569 pins, qualifying for the stepladder final as the top seed while Malaysia's Muhammad Hafiz (3,499) and South Korea's Moon Ha-yeong (3,450) were second and third respectively.
The Ngee Ann Polytechnic student then lost the first game of the final 225-224 to Hafiz, but beat his opponent 208-202 for a combined score of 432-427.
Xavier declared his five-pin victory his "greatest" achievement ever.
He said: "During the stepladder final, I just told myself to be in the present, thinking only about the processes as the outcome was uncontrollable.
"This competition is very important to us... It's an affirmation of the processes and how we shape up our shots.
"It shows that everything I have been working on back home, like focusing on the process, is working out and I will continue to work even harder."
In the girls' event, Charlene Lim won the bronze behind champion Gillian Lim of Malaysia and South Korean Shin Hye-bin.
The 20-year-old Lim was second overall after two blocks of 16 games, but settled for third after she lost 200-191 to Gillian in the first round of the stepladder final.
"I haven't been bowling well all week. It was terrible. All I wanted was to contribute another medal to the team and have another shot to redeem myself," said the Republic Polytechnic student.
"Focusing on the process and the trust between coach and I was what helped me throughout the event."
The Republic ended their campaign with six golds and three bronzes, their best-ever result at the competition. Their previous best result in the biennial tournament was in 1983, where they won four golds, one silver and three bronzes.
National head coach Helmi Chew praised the team for their performance, saying: "In this outing we learnt a lot about the character of our players and even the coaching team. This will help to build the bond and team spirit amongst the team and help us move forward to achieve better results."
Singapore Bowling Federation president Jessie Phua added: "It's a sterling performance by the entire team. An entire village worked hard for these emerging bowlers and we are thankful they kept their composure, dug deep and delivered.
"We are very happy that our young guns are on track and hope they will stay the course as they have every opportunity to be our future world champions."