Fresh Faces To Refresh Team

Clockwise, from top left: Daphne Tan, Shayna Ng, New Hui Fen, Bernice Lim, Charlene Lim and Cherie Tan will represent Singapore at the Women's World Bowling Championships in Las Vegas this month. PHOTO: SINGAPORE BOWLING
Clockwise, from top left: Daphne Tan, Shayna Ng, New Hui Fen, Bernice Lim, Charlene Lim and Cherie Tan will represent Singapore at the Women's World Bowling Championships in Las Vegas this month. PHOTO: SINGAPORE BOWLING

Charlene part of new, young group of keglers looking to prove themselves on bigger stage

The Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF) believes 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, an identical sextet - sisters Cherie and Daphne Tan, Shayna Ng, New Hui Fen, Jazreel Tan and Joey Yeo - won a team bronze in 2015 and silver in 2017. Ng remains Singapore's only gold medallist with her 2015 all-events title.

For this year's Aug 22-30 tournament in Las Vegas, though, Jazreel and Yeo have been replaced by Bernice Lim and Charlene Lim, the 20-year-old who showed her potential with victory in May's Malaysian International Open.

Charlene said: "This is a dream come true and I aim to do my best and do Singapore proud.

"I would like to learn more about lane play and how the team communicate efficiently.

"I hope that being with the stars on our team can make me one soon. I am a fighter, 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 that while there were internal selection criteria for the championships, Charlene's performance against an elite field in Petaling Jaya tipped things in her favour when the technical team deliberated over the squad's make-up.

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 World Championships."

The SBF has developed a pool of world-class female bowlers who have held their own against powerhouses South Korea and Malaysia. Now, a new generation is knocking on the door of the senior team.

After 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 young players with many opportunities to compete in overseas tournaments at their level of development. Allowing them to compete in international competitions alongside experienced seniors, whom they look up to, motivates them to up their game.

"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 they still have a part to play if they are up for the challenge.

She added: "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."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 11, 2019, with the headline 'Fresh Faces To Refresh Team'. Print Edition | Subscribe