Bowling: Stiff competition spurs Cherie Tan to Singapore Open victory

Bowler Cherie Tan in action at the 52nd Singapore International Open on Saturday. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - They were locked in battle for the $10,000 prize but few at the Singapore Bowling @ Rifle Range on Saturday would have guessed it.

After all, national teammates Cherie Tan and New Hui Fen were a picture of harmony at the 52nd edition of the Singapore Open, exchanging high-fives and seemingly in buoyant mood in the women’s step-ladder final.

Tan, the top qualifier for the final, dropped the first game 237-191 but recovered in the second with 232 to 181 pinfalls.

It was the 34-year-old’s second Singapore Open title, with the first coming in 2008. 

She has now won three individual titles in 2022, including the SEA Games women’s singles gold medal in May in Vietnam and the Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) BowlTV Classic in June in New York.

She also finished as the top female bowler at the Brunswick Euro Challenge the same month.

Tan, who received the winner’s trophy and a cheque for $10,000 from Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, the guest of honour, said: “We are all very competitive and want to do our best each time we are in competition, and it is clear we will always push each other to improve our bowling.

“Even in training, we have friendly competitions. We want to be able to always help each other out and the ultimate goal is always to make Singapore proud with our performances.”

Tan said it was a normal practice for her and New to give each other high-fives in a competition but also shared that the pair often give each other tips.

Tan said: “We always help each other and often bounce ideas off one another on how we can do better.”

In May, the pair teamed up to clinch a rare women’s doubles gold in Hanoi, the first time Singapore had won the event since 1995. 

New, 30, who finished second in the International Bowling Federation (IBF) World Cup in Queensland in November, added: “As a bowler, you would have blind spots in your games that you might not be able to notice.

“So it is good to have teammates being there for you to help you and tell you how you can improve.

“Cherie has plenty of knowledge about the game and when I am not sure about something, I always go to her.”

Tan, New and the rest of Singapore’s bowlers will now prepare for the 26th Asian Tenpin Bowling Championships from Jan 8 to 18 in Hong Kong.

The Singapore Open made its return in 2022 after a two-year hiatus and saw a total of 614 participants, including 110 from overseas, compete in the Dec 3-17 competition.

Swedish bowler Kim Bolleby triumphed in the men’s step-ladder final, taking home the $25,000 prize purse.

He beat Malaysia’s Hafiz Zainuddin 245-232, 242-231.

In his maiden Singapore Open in 2019, the Swede did not even make the top 10.

The 29-year-old credits his new workout regimen – CrossFit, a form of high-intensity interval training that he started during the pandemic – for his success.

Bolleby said: “I feel much sharper physically. My workouts allow me to be in a much better shape when I bowl and I am more in control of movements... and it just gives me a mental edge as well because I know I can pull off the shots I want to make. I haven’t felt as good as this lately and it gives me so much happiness to be able to bag this title today.”

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