Singapore's bowling trio narrowly pipped to gold by Malaysia
Mixed trios team narrowly miss out on bowling gold
The gold medal was in their grasp.
Going into the fourth and final game, Singapore's mixed trios team (TPB 1 + TPB 1/2 + TPB 2/3) had held the lead with their total of 1,278 pinfalls.
They also had the in-form Mohamed Ismail Hussain, who posted the only two over-200 scores in the event at the Temasek Club yesterday.
Alas, it was not meant to be.
Instead, it was Malaysia's Muhamad Hairul Miran, Choo Kam Chan and Zainul Akmal Siran who finished the job, clawing back from third place to snatch the gold with 1,699 pinfalls.
The Republic's trio of Ismail, Thomas Nathan Chan and Kelvin Goh lost out by a mere 43 pinfalls.
The dejected bowlers were left to rue a missed chance to add to Singapore's three gold medals in bowling at the Asean Para Games.
A lane change in the third game had cost them, said Ismail, who had won a gold in the mixed singles (TPB 3) and a bronze from the mixed doubles (TPB 1 + TPB 3).
"I would definitely say 'yes'," said Ismail, who posted a 133 in the third game, when asked if the lane switch was the turning point yesterday.
"I think I managed to fight back in game four but, overall, I still feel the third game cost us the gold.
"I only knew (that it was close) at the final frame of the final game.
"I just told myself to focus on the shot, which I thought it was good, but there was (still) one pin standing."
Despite the near miss, Singapore's team manager for bowling, Darren Khemlani, applauded the efforts of his charges.
"It was a great fightback from the Malaysians. They proved that they were the better team today," he said.
"Congrats to them, but I need to credit my players for putting up such a good fight and leading all the way."
A silver medal was still a creditable result, considering that Chan and Goh were making their debuts at the Asean Para Games.
In fact, Chan has been battling a niggling knee injury, which acted up again a few months ago.
In addition, Goh was drafted into the squad for this event because teammate Robert Ong was down with food poisoning.
Florence Khemlani, president of Singapore's Bowling Association for the Disabled, said Ong's absence was a huge blow to the team.
"He has more experience," she explained.
Ong was part of the trios team that won a bronze in the TPB 8 + TPB 2/3 + TPB 2/3 mixed team event at last year's Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Brunei, who were second going into the last game yesterday, finished third with a total of 1,644 pinfalls.