Team Singapore

Remy to resume bowling after quitting as national coach

Ex-world champion steps down as national head coach to bowl again

Less than five months ago, Remy Ong, a self-described "coach from hell", guided brothers Howard and Keith Saw to Singapore's first men's doubles gold at the SEA Games since 1997.

Ong will soon be battling the Saws and other bowlers, after the national coach surprisingly stepped down on Oct 23 to return as a player and also to start a business.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, the 36-year-old said: "My hands are itchy, and I will make my comeback as a player.

"To be fair to the team, I will not be staking my claim for a place in the national team just yet because I haven't been bowling for more than two years since I became national coach in 2013, and I need to prove myself first.

"But I have been secretly practising every day and I will be back on the professional World Bowling Tour.

"I made the decision recently, and spoke to the Singapore Bowling president (Jessie Phua), who gave me her blessings and I'm leaving on a good note."

Phua confirmed the news and told TNP that despite the Women's World Tenpin Bowling Championships looming next month (Dec 5-14), the association will not rush into appointing a head coach.

BLESSING

She said: "We are disappointed that Remy is leaving but we never want to stand in the way of his career choice. We appreciate what he has done and we wish him well.

"As long as he puts his heart and soul into it, he can do well again as a player. While we are sad to lose Remy, and it's a percentage loss, we have been operating as a team of coaches since 2005 and moving ahead, we are confident.

"We will be looking at whether there will be one or two coaches within the team who perform better."

Ong, the 2006 world champion (singles, all-events), revealed that his first comeback tournament will be the Qatar Bowling Open in Doha from Nov 26, four days after his 37th birthday.

Then he will head for the Kingdom International Open in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, at the invitation and sponsorship of Prince Abdul Hakim Al Saud, a big bowling fan. Ong won the tournament in 2011 and 2012.

His golden touch has also extended to his coaching career. Days after becoming national coach, he helped Shayna Ng top the women's field in the 2013 World Bowling Tour's International Bowling Championships.

Then came three golds (men's and women's doubles and mixed team) at the 2013 Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships.

After being named national head coach in February last year, the good results continued.

The national women's team beat South Korea, widely regarded as the world's best, at the 2014 Asian Games and at this year's Asian Tenpin Bowling Championships.

Ong worked his magic not just with the women, but also the men.

The national bowlers' SEA Games haul of four golds, five silvers and one bronze this year on home soil included the men's doubles gold, trios silver and singles bronze, which were won by a men's team who are all under 21 years of age.

BUSINESS

The next chapter of Ong's life includes a new business venture - Sponzer Group Pte Ltd (www.sponzer.asia), a digital marketing company set up with a friend who has more than 20 years of experience in the sector.

"Sponzer focuses on digital sponsorship where we will use social media, mobile and data to help engage brands to reach and engage customers effectively," said Ong.

"For a start, we want to represent athletes, and we are also in talks with several artistes and models. We want to work with brand owners, as well as start-up companies, who want to build a stronger branding.

"So yes, I will be juggling a business and a professional playing career. People who know Remy will know that if I want to do something, I will go all out to make it happen."

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