SINGAPORE - Nerves and stress are part and parcel of an athlete's journey in any competition, and can make or break that person.
But the Republic's para-bowler Ismail Hussain could count on home support to calm his nerves when he competed at the Micron Singapore World Para Bowling Tour Series 2018, which ended on Thursday (March 1) at SingaporeBowling @ Rifle Range.
"I always give myself pressure to win, but my friends and family were around during the tournament and their cheering made it less stressful for me; sometimes I couldn't see them but their voices calmed me down a bit," said the 34-year-old, who won the TPB 3 men's singles and Masters golds at the three-day tournament.
More than 50 para-athletes from eight countries - Australia, Japan, South Korea, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Chinese Taipei - competed, with the Republic placing second with four golds, three silvers and four bronzes. Malaysia topped the medal charts with seven golds, eight silvers and five bronzes in the first leg of the new bowling series.
It was the first time that the Republic hosted a para-bowling tournament of such a scale. Hong Kong (March 27-31) and Kuching, Malaysia (July 31-Aug 5) will host the remaining two legs of the series.
Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) president Kevin Wong hailed the event "a success", adding they are "definitely looking at carrying on hosting the tournament again".
He said: "It gives our para-bowlers more opportunities to compete with bowlers from around the region, and their results give us the comparative data for selections for major tournaments.
"It is also an efficient use of funding, rather than to send a smaller number of athletes overseas, a bigger number of athletes can take part in events such as this locally, with the event also generating publicity and therefore public awareness here."
Ismail added: "This tournament is an eye-opener for the public, and hopefully more people and sponsors will support events such as these, which would make more people aware of para-sports here."
Wong revealed that he will be bringing back the Singapore Boccia Open in May, after a 10-year hiatus, and is aiming to achieve similar results in the different areas as the bowling event.