Cherie shows Daphne who's boss
For the first time, sisters meet in a final, as Singapore bowlers earn praise from coach Ong
The bowlers were both on 1,662 pinfalls and neck and neck going into the last of eight games at the 37th Malaysian International Open women's Masters competition yesterday.
Younger sister Daphne Tan then stormed ahead with 246 pinfalls at the Sunway Mega Lanes in Selangor to qualify for the stepladder final as the best of six finalists, ahead of older sister Cherie Tan, who managed only 194 pinfalls to finish second.
The stepladder final featured five Singaporeans - Jazreel Tan (sixth), New Hui Fen (fourth), Joey Yeo (third) and the Tan sisters - and Sin Li Jane, flying the flag for Malaysia lying in fifth spot.
And Cherie, 26, was a different bowler when it mattered most.
Going up against Yeo and New - New beat Sin and Jazreel in the first round of the stepladder final - for the right to meet Daphne in the grand final, Cherie produced a seven-bagger and a score of 244 pinfalls to see off her Singaporean teammates - Yeo (236), New (187) - to set up a mouth-watering clash against her 23-year-old sister.
After 12 years in the sport, this was the first time the sisters met in a stepladder grand final.
And there was no stopping Cherie, who maintained her momentum to win the two games (224-217, 237-194) required to lift the title.
Speaking to The New Paper after her win, Cherie said: "I'm quite pleased with my performance on this trip, and to meet my sister in the stepladder final was a unique experience, and I'm happy to win.
"The team have been training extra hard during the past few months for the upcoming Asian Games.
"We have been doing well in recent competitions and hopefully we can carry the momentum forward to the Asian Games."
Indeed, the fact that five Singaporeans filled the top six positions in Malaysia bodes well for the Republic ahead of the 2014 Asian Games, which will be held in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19 to Oct 4.
Said national bowling coach, Remy Ong: "It feels good to see so many of them in the top six. Malaysia are also Asian powerhouses, so hopefully this will play on their minds that we are a force to be reckoned with.
"The performance shows our bowlers' hard work at training is paying off.
"I've been trying to coach them to be more independent and multi-dimensional so they are able to overcome different lane conditions.
"We brought 10 male and 10 female bowlers here and nine each made it to the second round, so that's really commendable."
Javier Tan was the top Singaporean male bowler, finishing in eighth spot, and Ong said: "They ( the men) will get stronger and we will soon see them on the podium.
"We have quite a lot of competitions this month, after which we will get a clearer picture of which six male and six female bowlers to select of the Asian Games."
Next up for the men and women will be the Euro-Med Challenge in the Philippines starting tomorrow, before the Singapore International Open from May 27 to June 7.