Grand win for bowler Arianne in youth championships

Arianne Tay, 14, beat many older rivals to win the girls' singles at the first world junior bowling championships.
Arianne Tay, 14, beat many older rivals to win the girls' singles at the first world junior bowling championships.

She entered the inaugural World Junior Bowling Championships in France as one of the youngest competitors but Singapore's Arianne Tay proved that age was no obstacle, as she won the girls' singles title on Tuesday night.

The national youth bowler, 14, scored 230 pinfalls in the final for a comfortable win over Finland's 15-year-old Peppi Konsteri, who managed only 190 pinfalls at the Institut du Judo in Paris.

It was Arianne's first major international title after she emerged top in a field of 47 keglers, aged 13 to 18, from 34 teams.

The Methodist Girls' School Secondary 3 student said yesterday: "I was competing with bowlers up to four years older than me, and I was afraid I might not be up to their standard.

"So the fact that I could reach the stepladder really caught me by surprise but also encouraged me to give of my best.

"I just can't believe it. It's my first time winning something major like this.

"It's the biggest win of my life."

She was the top seed after the qualifying round, totalling 1,407 pinfalls in six games to be the best qualifier. In the semi-finals, she edged past Grace Gella, 18, of the Philippines by 214 to 188 pinfalls.

Arianne, who has been bowling for five years, said: "During the semi-finals and finals I was very nervous because both my competitors were such great players, but I tried my best to focus on the process.

"The key was to keep myself calm during the process, breathe in and out and make the best shots I could."

National senior assistant coach Alvin Koh was impressed not only with how Arianne handled her nerves despite the intense pressure, but also with her ability to cope with an increased work load.

Besides training for this tournament, Arianne was also focused on the National Schools B Division Championships, which ended on March 7. She had finished 17th overall.

Koh said: "It was a tough period for Arianne but, she definitely showed a lot of mental toughness to juggle her commitments."

Arianne and teammate Quek Lu Yi, 16, were competing in the girls' doubles event which was not over by press time yesterday.

They will then team up with compatriots Xavier Teo, 17, and Eugene Yeo, 14, for the team-of-four category which starts today.

The top 24 bowlers in the boys' and girls' all-events standings will qualify for the masters competitions, which also begin today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2019, with the headline 'Grand win for bowler Arianne in youth c'ships'. Print Edition | Subscribe