Bowling champion Cherie dedicates win to late coach Henry
Singles champion Cherie dedicates win to late coach Henry
Singapore bowler Cherie Tan was consistent in all her six games en route to winning the SEA Games women's singles gold medal in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, but she felt that luck was also on her side.
"I got a few nice breaks too, which was lucky," said Tan, who also won the women's singles gold at the 2011 Games in Indonesia.
"It just felt like someone up there was looking out for me today."
She was referring to the late bowler and coach Henry Tan, who died of heart failure at age 73 last Thursday morning, just hours before the bowling team left for KL.
The two-time Sportsman of the Year, who had won the Coach of the Year award twice as well, had nurtured many national keglers over the decades, including Tan and current Sportswoman of the Year New Hui Fen.
Tan said: "It has been a sombre last few days. We had a team meeting on Saturday and told ourselves we were going to bowl for Henry this week.
"The whole team are very motivated to do well and we will be doing it for him."
While it had been "years" since the Singapore bowlers competed at the Sunway Mega Lanes - the venue of the SEA Games bowling competition - Tan was on fire yesterday, scoring more than 200 points in each of her six games on short oil.
She was the runaway winner with 1,413 pinfalls, while Malaysian duo Sin Li Jane (1,300) and Shalin Zulkifli (1,297) were second and third respectively.
She said: "I knew I was bowling well and, based on experience, that I had a chance of winning a medal, so I was just focusing on every shot I made.
TRIO FINISH FOURTH TO SIXTH
"My carry was quite good and the pins just fell... The pacers with us were left-handed as well, but always went after me so there was no traffic for me in terms of the oiling."
Tan's teammates Shayna Ng (1,290 pins), New Hui Fen (1,286) and Jazreel Tan (1,284) placed fourth to sixth, while Bernice Lim (1,189) and 2015 women's singles champion Daphne Tan (1,120) were 19th and 26th respectively.
The fact that a Singaporean trio were just outside podium finishes yesterday should give the team optimism for other events in the following days - they compete in the women's doubles today.
But Tan warned against complacency after yesterday's win.
After all, the team went through a "roller coaster" ride at the last SEA Games at home, where they won the women's singles, trios and masters on alternate days, while conceding the doubles and team titles in between.
The 29-year-old Tan said: "We cannot be overconfident... And need to pace ourselves.
"Tomorrow is a new day, with a new oiling pattern (long oil), which would have a different set of requirements from today.
"We want to win everything possible; the job is not done yet and we need to focus on getting it done."
Meanwhile, Cheah Ray Han was the top Singaporean in the men's singles competition yesterday.
The 17-year-old was fifth with 1,366 pins, while teammates Jaris Goh (11th), Darren Ong (17th), Keith Saw (19th), Timothy Tham (21st) and Basil Ng (22nd) also competed yesterday.