Bowling: Singapore men clinch historic silver medal at the IBF Super World C'ships

(From left) Jonovan Neo, Jomond Chia, Cheah Ray Han and Darren Ong bagged a historic silver medal in Dubai. PHOTO: SINGAPORE BOWLING FEDERATION

SINGAPORE - The Republic's male bowlers bagged a historic silver medal at the International Bowling Federation (IBF) Super World Championships in Dubai after losing to South Korea in the two-game men's team final on Monday (Nov 15).

Cheah Ray Han, Jonovan Neo, Darren Ong and Jomond Chia, who are Singapore's first men's team to qualify for a World Championship final, struggled to find their momentum in the opening game at the Sports, Fitness and Wellbeing Hub in Expo 2020 Dubai, which they eventually lost 196-136.

The quartet put in an improved performance in the second game, but fell short against South Korea's Kang Hee-won, Ji Geun, Go Jae-kyeok and Ka Soo-hyeong, who won 248-198.

Earlier on Monday, the women's team comprising singles champion Shayna Ng, 2019 World Bowling Athlete of the Year Cherie Tan, triple SEA Games gold medallist New Hui Fen and Iliya Syamim saw their run end in the matchplay round after they finished third in their group.

The previous best finish by the country's male bowlers on the global stage came in the 2018 World Bowling Men's Championships, where they clinched a historic bronze medal. Ong and Neo were part of that team together with Basil Ng, Keith Saw, Jaris Goh and Joel Tan.

Ong was also in the team that ended Singapore's 22-year wait for a men's team bowling gold at the SEA Games in 2017, along with Cheah, Timothy Tham, Ng, Goh and Saw.

Chia, who is making his World Championship debut, has enjoyed his own success at the youth level, winning two gold medals at the 2019 Asian Youth Championships.

The male bowlers' silver medal brought Singapore's medal tally at the IBF Super World Championships to five, making it the country's most successful campaign at a combined World Championships.

The Republic's first medals of the competition came from Ng and Tan, who clinched a gold and silver medal respectively after coming against each other in the first-ever all-Singaporean women's singles final last Friday.

The women's trios team of Ng, Tan, New and Iliya finished bronze medallists in the women's trios event on Sunday, with Ng, Tan, Ong and Cheah also claiming a bronze medal in the mixed team event after a 278-248 defeat by the United States in the semi-finals on Monday.

Singapore Bowling Federation president Valerie Teo told The Straits Times: "We are very proud of the team, it has been a very good outing. Eight athletes returning from world competition with medals is no mean feat. Singapore Bowling finished our campaign with five medals, including another piece of history - a silver in the men's team event."

Teo, herself a former national bowler, noted that the competition format had been "gruelling".

"Both qualifying and quarter-final matches were in one venue, then everyone moved to a different venue with different lanes and conditions for the medal matches. And, most of the team bowling literally ran from dawn to dusk," she explained.

"The team has taken away many lessons from these championships and will benefit from these as they prep for their next event. For now, they fully deserve all cheers from us here at home, and to take a well-deserved rest. All of us at Singapore Bowling are waiting eagerly for them to return and to hear their stories and, yes, to hold their medals!"

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