The Malaysian International Open is proving to be a special tournament for national bowler Charlene Lim.
In 2015, she won the girls' open category and yesterday, also at the Sunway Mega Lanes in Petaling Jaya, she captured the women's Open division for her first international senior title.
Lim clinched the trophy by beating South Korean Sung Gyong-eun 191-166 in the stepladder finals and earned RM$20,000 (S$6,600).
The 20-year-old, who won a team gold and masters bronze at last month's Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championships in Kuching, said: "I felt like my hard work over the years has paid off.
"I am incredibly delighted and relieved to win this tournament as it has been a long three weeks of back-to-back competitions."
She had entered the stepladder finals as the top seed after averaging 227.38 in eight games in round two and said it took some of the pressure off her shoulders during her match against Sung.
Lim added: "I definitely felt the butterflies but I told myself to embrace the pressure and have fun on the big stage. Ultimately, it was all about focusing on my processes and being present."
Her teammates Charmaine Chang and Jermaine Seah finished eighth and 15th respectively.
Lim is known as a fighter within the national set-up. She was only three when she was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukaemia, a form of cancer of the white blood cells. It took about four years before she was cured.
National assistant coach Vincent Lim was fulsome in his praise. He said: "Her persistence and grit on the lanes was the key to her success."
Winning a tournament as prestigious as the Malaysian Open was a testament to Lim's steady improvement, noted head coach Helmi Chew.
He added: "She's been building to this in training over the past few months... The coaches are very proud of her performance."