ASIAN GAMES MEDALS ON HIS MIND
Singapore's bowlers are good enough to win a medal in all the events at the Asian Games in Incheon this year.
That's the view of newly-appointed head coach Remy Ong.
The key is how the keglers handle the pressure and unexpected situations that are bound to crop up during the competition in South Korea.
After the national team training session at the National Service Resort & Country Club yesterday, the 2007 world champion said: "I cannot guarantee the colour (of the medal) because of the lane conditions and other factors.
"But, if you put our team side by side with the rest, I'd say we stand a good chance.
"It's about how we manage stress and unexpected situations - we didn't win anything at the world championships last year even though I felt our bowlers didn't bowl badly.
"But, because of the stress, they lost out on the spares when they should be good enough to handle it at this level.
BLESSING IN DISGUISE
"In a way, it was a disaster that we didn't win anything, but also a blessing in disguise because we realised that we need to manage this aspect better."
The last time the Asiad was held in Korea, Ong emerged as one of the stars of the Singapore contingent, winning the men's singles, Masters and trios at the 2002 Busan Games.
The 35-year-old has focused on stress management in training, throwing curved balls at his charges for them to stay on their toes.
"I am bringing to them what I have learned in my 19 years as a national athlete, how I have different strategies to cope with stress and overcome negative situations," said the former national deputy head coach, whose promotion was announced last week.
"At the end of the day, competition is all about stress and unknown situations."
The Asian Games will take place from Sept 19 to Oct 4 and Singapore's bowlers will go with high expectations.
The team returned from the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou with one gold, three silvers and a bronze.
The women's squad boast former world champions Jasmine Yeong-Nathan and Shayna Ng, along with Daphne Tan, who clinched a silver medal in the Masters event at the 2011 World Women's Championships.
A good result in Incheon will set the team up nicely for the 28th South-east Asia Games, which Singapore will host next June.
While the keglers looked relaxed when The New Paper visited yesterday - the men's team were in the midst of completing a forfeit for losing a challenge with their female counterparts - Ong insisted it was hardly fun and games in training.
He said: "I am a very ambitious person. I am not throwing the bowling ball now but, when I go for competitions, my target is always to win.
"If the bowlers feel that they already have a lot of stress, I can tell you they will feel even more pressure because I will be pushing them even harder to reach my goals.
"If they are not on the same page as me, guess what, they will be the first ones out of the team.
"The team must be on the same page and moving in the same direction to get the job done."