SBF opens self-funded 38-lane bowling centre at Temasek Club
SBF's new 38-lane facility at Temasek Club provides self-funding, to host major events
The Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF) has taken a big first step towards independence from government funding, with the opening of its new bowling centre last month.
The 38-lane centre, on the top floor of the new Temasek Club along Rifle Range Road, was opened for free bowling sessions for about a month, with operations starting only two days ago.
The $3.5 million venture is purely a commercial one, and will be managed by SingaporeBowling Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of SBF, which is technically a charity, as with all national sports associations in Singapore that receive government funding.
The costs of setting up the centre came from both the SBF's reserves and a loan from Sport Singapore.
Before giving the media a tour of the premises yesterday, SBF president Jessie Phua said that the plan came about during the NSA's strategic planning process four years ago.
She said: "Bowling is one of few sports with strong commercial capabilities, and we are at a level of maturity here, so we could very well be the first NSA here to be financially independent."
She said the association will need "at least two or three more such centres" to achieve that goal, but did not reveal any updates on locations or timelines for these new projects.
Phua said: "We are still exploring our options and it is important not to take our eyes off the ball here (with this new centre); we want to get things up and running without a glitch first."
The centre, fitted with 19 LCD projectors and removable seats and ball racks, is run by ex-SBF council member Amas Tan, who stood down from his SBF post to be the centre's executive director.
The national squads, coached by Remy Ong, have already begun training at the new venue, and Phua promised that the national bowlers' training will be their top priority, despite the centre being run commercially and accepting public and corporate bookings.
FIRST MAJOR MEET
SBF-run local competitions, such as the Secondary School League, are expected to be moved to the new centre, which will host its first major competition - the Singapore National Bowling Championships - next month.
It will be followed by the National Youth Championships the same month, and the Asean Para Games in December.
The new centre, along with Orchid Country Club, are the only two bowling centres here that are capable of hosting major international events, such as the world championships.
The last time Singapore hosted a world-class event was in 1991, when the FIQ World Championships took place at Superbowl Marina South.
On this issue, Phua said: "International events are on our radar, but it has to be those that we feel strongly about, and working with people who we know, and will have beneficial collaborations with."
She is, however, keen to organise a competition at the new centre on a shorter format that was recently used in the U22 Fukuoka Summer Camp in August, when bowlers were eliminated after each one-game round.
Phua said: "It was a little sampler of what the world of bowling can do to bring ourselves up to date... to engage the youths today and stay current and attractive."
Bowling is one of few sports with strong commercial capabilities, and we are at a level of maturity here, so we could very well be the first NSA here to be financially independent.
- Singapore Bowling Federation president Jessie Phua