Bowling: Singapore's Cherie Tan humbled by Athlete of the Year accolade from world body

Cherie Tan was voted the World Bowling Athlete of the Year by the international bowling community and public. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Cherie Tan may have had a spectacular 2019 after making history on several fronts, but she is no longer thinking about her past successes.

A stellar year saw the 31-year-old became the first Singaporean to win the Masters title in the World Bowling women's championships in August, before becoming the first Asian to capture the Professional Women's Bowling Association Players Championship the following month.

She also won the SEA Games women's team gold with Shayna Ng, New Hui Fen and Daphne Tan in Manila last month and wrapped up the year by winning the Storm-Domino's Pizza Cup in South Korea.

On Tuesday, she made history again by being voted the World Bowling Athlete of the Year by the international bowling community and public.

She beat nine others in the running, including Australian Jason Belmonte and Americans Jakob Butturff and Danielle McEwan.

World Bowling is the world governing body of nine-pin and 10-pin bowling. The vote was conducted on its social media channels - Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Tan said: "It's going to be really hard to match last year's performance and focusing on the past is not going to be helpful. (This year) is a new year and I'm going to start on a clean slate."

The award came as a surprise for Tan, who said: "My social media presence is next to zero and the other nominees had huge fan bases. I'm humbled by the support I got from my friends, family and fans.

"It's a huge honour and I'm always proud to be representing Singapore. This recognition puts Singapore Bowling on the world stage and I'm hopeful that I won't be the only one."

She saw great improvements to her game after making changes like adjusting her swing direction and timing at the end of 2018.

Tan also focused more on the tactical side like ball transition, which resulted in better decision making in competitions.

While there are no major tournaments this year, Tan is hoping to compete in the Asian Bowling Championships and World Singles.

Singapore Bowling Federation president Jessie Phua praised Tan, saying: "It's an awesome recognition for one of our finest. Cherie is one of the most dedicated and hardworking athletes who has devoted so many years of her life to the sport."

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