Former national bowler and coach Henry Tan dies
Fraternity pays tribute to former national bowler and coach, who dies of heart failure aged 73
The local bowling fraternity mourned the loss of former national kegler and coach Henry Tan, who died of heart failure at Tan Tock Seng Hospital yesterday morning.
Tan, who would have turned 74 next month, was viewed by many as a key figure in the growth of the sport here.
He is survived by his wife, Tamgelia Chua, 59, who is also a former national bowler, two children and two grandchildren.
Singapore Bowling Federation president Jessie Phua said: "It is a terrible day for us. He dedicated almost his entire life to sport and was someone who lived and breathed bowling.
"He had a lot of empathy and his love for sports was unparalleled. He was unbelievable in drawing out the best from everyone."
Tan won silver medals at the World Cup in 1970 and in the men's doubles event at the 1975 FIQ World Championships, where he also set a then-world record high game of 298.
He was named Sportsman of the Year in 1971 and 1976.
He became Singapore's national coach from 2006 to 2014 - succeeded by Remy Ong who left the next year - and was named Coach of the Year in 1984 (as player-coach at the 1983 SEA Games) and 2010.
Ong, who had met Tan for lunch a mere fortnight ago, lamented the loss of a man of Tan's calibre.
"Henry was the most influential guy in my bowling career," he said.
"He was just of a different breed and you would not find such a person anymore. As a young bowler, I couldn't pick up my spares and he would make me practise and practise again.
"I was furious and frustrated, but I later realised what he did for me and it was amazing."
He was someone who lived and breathed bowling. He had a lot of empathy... He was unbelievable in drawing out the best from everyone.
BF president Jessie Phua on former national kegler and coach Henry Tan
The national bowling contingent, which left for the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur yesterday afternoon, paid their tribute to Tan.
Said newly crowned Sportswoman of the Year New Hui Fen: "He was a mentor who was more a true friend to me. He was always very honest with me, even when he gave me criticism and I needed that in life."
Added teammate Shayna Ng: "Henry is a legend in the bowling fraternity.
"Not only did he contribute to the nation's sporting success, he has also imparted many life lessons to the younger generation, myself included.
"He came down to watch us at our last training session (on Tuesday) and wished us all the best for the SEA Games.
"I'm thankful I got a chance to speak to him and shake his hand one last time.
"He will truly be missed by myself and the entire team - my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."
Tan's wake will be held from today to Tuesday at 10 Ubi Road 4, Parlour 1 and 2.