New left out of strong ASIAD side

Reigning Sportswoman of the Year New Hui Fen's recent drop in form means the Incheon 2014 gold medallist misses out on next month's trip to Indonesia.
Reigning Sportswoman of the Year New Hui Fen's recent drop in form means the Incheon 2014 gold medallist misses out on next month's trip to Indonesia.ST FILE PHOTO

Omission shows depth among world-class women bowlers; five men to make debut in Palembang

There were few surprises yesterday when Singapore Bowling announced the 12-strong squad who will represent the Republic at next month's Asian Games in Indonesia.

For the women, one change has been made to the six-member line-up that won the team gold at the previous Asiad with 2018 AIK International Tournament champion Bernice Lim making her Games debut and replacing 2017 Sportswoman of the Year New Hui Fen.

The other five are the newly crowned Singapore International Open champion and runner-up Jazreel Tan and Joey Yeo, Shayna Ng, Cherie Tan and Daphne Tan.

New, 26, said: "I am definitely feeling a little disappointed but stats are stats and numbers don't lie. So if numbers are suggesting that I need to work on my game, I can't be in denial about that. We have a very strong women's team."

Her exclusion showcased how strong the women's team is, said national head coach Jason Yeong-Nathan. He added: "We have several good bowlers fighting for limited slots. Hence only the best of the best get to represent Singapore. Hui Fen lost out narrowly but she is a great athlete. She is still training with us and raring to make up for the lost opportunity. She is young and has a long runway."

Jazreel, who had a hand in all four bowling medals (team gold, singles and trios silver and all-events bronze) Singapore won at the 2014 Incheon Asiad, admitted that there was pressure but was cautiously optimistic. She said: "We've put in a lot of hard work over the last year to ensure everyone is on their game. I hope it pays off."

The men's team comprises four of the 2017 SEA Games team gold medallists in Muhammad Jaris Goh, Cheah Ray Han, Darren Ong and Basil Ng. They will be joined by Jonovan Neo and Alex Chong for the Aug 18-Sept 2 Games in Palembang.

All are making their Asiad debuts except for Goh, who featured in the 2014 edition. Ong, who was the runner-up in last Saturday's Hong Kong International Open, said that result was a confidence booster and added: "The competition is with myself and it's about how I can rise to the occasion."

A new scoring format will be used at the brand-new Jakabaring Bowling Centre. A strike will be worth 30 points, while a spared frame is worth 10 points plus the number of pins felled in the first roll.

This differs from the conventional format, under which points for a strike are 10 plus the total of a bowler's next two rolls, and a spare is 10 points plus the number of pins knocked down in the next shot.

Organisers have dropped the singles, doubles and all-events segments, halving the events to three.

Singapore Bowling president Jessie Phua said: "Our girls are medal contenders and we are looking to them to fly the Singapore flag high. For our guys, they are up against tough competition.

"I told them to bowl without expectations and do the best they can. Let them surprise us."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2018, with the headline 'New left out of strong ASIAD side'. Print Edition | Subscribe