Bowling: Singapore women's team keep cool despite mounting injury list

(From left) Shayna Ng, Cherie Tan, Joey Yeo, Jazreel Tan, New Hui Fen and Daphne Tan with their team gold medals at the Asian Games in 2014. Despite New and Bernice Lim's knee problems and Yeo's wrist injury, bowling federation technical director Mer
(From left) Shayna Ng, Cherie Tan, Joey Yeo, Jazreel Tan, New Hui Fen and Daphne Tan with their team gold medals at the Asian Games in 2014. Despite New and Bernice Lim's knee problems and Yeo's wrist injury, bowling federation technical director Mervyn Foo is unfazed as the women's squad can cope.ST FILE PHOTO

Injuries mean that the national bowling team will be 1 member short for Qatar's Emir Cup

With several key athletes facing injury woes and a major Games just six months away, the national women's bowling team is sitting a little more uneasy these days.

A squad of four - Shayna Ng, Jazreel Tan, Cherie Tan and Daphne Tan - will leave for the Emir Cup in Qatar today one member short, after Joey Yeo was pulled out to allow the 18-year-old more time to recover from a wrist injury.

New Hui Fen and Bernice Lim - who both won Major titles on the Professional Women's Bowling Association (PWBA) tour last season - were not pencilled in as both are dealing with knee ailments.

But even with a defence of three golds (women's singles, trios, masters) at stake at the Aug 19-31 SEA Games, Singapore Bowling Federation technical director Mervyn Foo is still keeping his cool.

He told The Straits Times yesterday: "Most of the time we tend to just be bothered about the outcome (of tournaments), but it's the welfare of the athlete that is more important.

"When you take care of that, every thing will fall in place. (So) I'm not concerned about the tournament - I'm concerned for my bowlers. Recovery is more important."

IN RECOVERY MODE

We still go to the gym together and do things as a team, so the camaraderie is still there and that's crucial for team events... What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, so I'm positive my team-mates will be back stronger than before.

SHAYNA NG, national bowler, on dealing with team-mates' injuries.

Training these days has become a mishmash of adapted exercises, catering to individual needs and done at an intensity the athlete is able to withstand.

Lim, for instance, has been easing back onto the lanes after the 24-year-old took a three-month break, starting with just drills in the finishing position, before intensifying to a two-step and five-step walk-up drill.

New, 24, has had shockwave therapy to cope with issues that include a sprain of the medial collateral ligament.

She will start with just 30 minutes of training on the lanes twice a week starting tomorrow.

For someone who had a breakthrough season last year, this unwelcome speed bump has been vexing.

The reigning PWBA Rookie of the Year has trained just three times since the World Bowling Singles Championships last December in Doha, where she finished runner-up.

Said New: "I'm basically just going for physiotherapy and rehabilitation or doctor's appointments, wondering when will be my first competition or training session."

But New, as well as the rest of the national team, are still pencilled in for a training and competition trip to Europe in three weeks' time.

"These things can happen. They're just in a recovery stage now. The Singapore Sports Institute is on top of things. We must be quick, but we don't hurry," said Foo.

He also noted that the Singapore women's team have a deep squad of proven champions.

There are, for instance, former world champions like Ng (2012) and Jasmine Yeong-Nathan (2008).

Cherie Tan is also a title winner on the PWBA tour last year while younger sister Daphne lifted the Brunswick Ballmaster Open trophy last month.

Said 27-year-old Ng, who also has the 2015 World Women's Championships all-events title to her name: "We're not worrying... we still go to the gym together and do things as a team, so the camaraderie is still there and that's crucial for team events.

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, so I'm positive my team-mates will be back stronger than before."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2017, with the headline 'Keeping cool over slight setbacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe