Remy Ong gets back in the groove
Bowler says he is slowly getting back to his best
The X-factor separates the good from the great and bowler Remy Ong certainly had it during his prime - winning three gold medals at the 2002 Asian Games, and then two titles at the 2006 World Bowling Championships.
A year after his return to competitive bowling, Ong says he's still regaining his "feel" for the game, but has seen encouraging improvements in his results.
"I suppose from my results I am seeing progress, which was always going to be difficult after being out for three years," said the 37-year-old, who was the national coach from February 2014 to last November.
Ong has competed in almost 10 tournaments since his comeback, with his best showing a third in the men's Masters at the 43rd Pesta Penang International last December.
Last month, he struck his first perfect game in training since his comeback, and was recently third among the pool of overseas bowlers - who included Indonesian Ryan Lalisang and Australia's Sam Cooley - in the men's qualifiers for the China International Open.
He eventually finished 15th, while fellow Singaporean bowler Shayna Ng won the women's title in the same tournament.
Yesterday, Ong won the Changi Bowl SG51 Best of the Best tournament, bagging himself a $4,000 prize.
And, despite competing in just two Asian Bowling Federation (ABF) Tour events this season, he is lying 11th in the men's top 16, and in contention for a spot for the ABF Tour Tournament of Champions next March in Kuwait.
All these, while juggling a limited budget, and work at his digital sponsorship and marketing company Sponzer Group.
"I would love to compete in more tournaments, but funding is a major issue," said Ong, who will leave on Wednesday for the Indonesia Open in Jakarta.
"I don't get funding from the government any more, so every tournament I go to, and every frame in training I have to pay for myself, although I am lucky to have sponsors supporting me at various tournaments."
The slowdown of the global economy has done his business no favours, but he revealed that he will be announcing a "big modelling event" soon.
Looking ahead, Ong says his tournament schedule for next year is still not finalised, mostly dependent on funding and opportunity, even if he is starting to shake off his metaphorical rust.
With the South-east Asia Games held next year in KL, The New Paper asked what he thought of donning Singapore colours again.
He said: "I am definitely open to it, but I am not in the team right now and I know I have to show results before they'd consider me."
"We are open to anybody who does well in local events such as the Singapore International Open and the National Bowling Championships," said Singapore Bowling Federation executive and technical director Mervyn Foo.
"We also take into account good performances from overseas tournaments, as well as coaches' recommendations on bowlers who are doing well consistently.
"However, there are also other selection criteria we look at, such as commitment to the training schedule and plan."
"I suppose from my results I am seeing progress, which was always going to be difficult after being out for three years."
- Remy Ong