New Hui Fen eyes more gold medals after clinching singles title
But singles champion says what matters more is the team gold, as she hasn't won it since 2011 Games
New Hui Fen hardly celebrated - despite clinching her first SEA Games women's singles gold medal yesterday.
The 27-year-old stayed consistent and composed to win the title with 1,372 pinfalls, ahead of Indonesia's Tannya Roumimper (1,307) and compatriot Shayna Ng (1,271).
But, after adding another gold to her vast collection, New told The New Paper that it's the team title that matters more to her.
"I feel okay to win the singles, but I'm here for the team gold. This doesn't mean as much to me than that," she said in a phone interview.
"If I were a lot younger, I would perhaps treasure this a lot more. Now, I feel like it's more powerful to get a gold in the team event than in the singles."
She started off well at the Coronodo Lanes in Starmall Edsa-Shaw in Manila, recording 201 and 258 pinfalls.
But, after the fourth game, Roumimper edged ahead by one pinfall.
The Indonesian fumbled in the fifth game, however, knocking down only 176 pinfalls, while New stayed calm to reclaim the lead with 235.
Going into the sixth and final game, New felt no pressure as she had amassed a 58-pinfall lead.
She closed out with a 230 to emerge triumphant from the 28-woman field, while Roumimper settled for silver and Ng claimed the bronze.
Two other Singaporeans, sisters Daphne and Cherie Tan, finished fifth and 13th respectively.
New added that switching balls helped her clinch the gold.
She said: "Today's win was factored by choosing the right ball and the area to align.
"In the third game, the ball didn't reach the pocket twice despite adjustment... so I switched to a pearlised asymmetrical ball which worked."
New has won her fair share of individual medals throughout her 17-year bowling career, like the PWBA Tour Championship in 2016, the Master's in the 2015 Asian Championships and the 2009 Asian Youth Games singles.
But she has yet to taste a team victory since the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia.
Bowling was not contested in the 2013 edition in Myanmar.
In the 2015 edition on home soil, the team narrowly missed retaining the gold by 55 pinfalls, losing to Malaysia.
In the 2017 edition in Kuala Lumpur, they lost to Malaysia again. But it was the 2015 defeat that still rankled with New.
"I didn't understand why we lost then. We were the more talented team and we were more supported in terms of welfare, logistics, preparation and everything," said the Spex scholar.
"We trained hard for that competition, but maybe we didn't train smart.
"Since then, there's more intention towards our training and our objectives are clear... "
She will apply the same mindset towards her other events - women's and mixed doubles, four-woman team and Masters from today to Sunday.
"I wouldn't say today's win will bring a confidence-booster but it gave me affirmation that all the training has been paying off."
Ng, 30, also a Spex scholar, shared her sentiments.
"It was a good result to see Team Singapore on two-thirds of the podium," said the 2015 Women's World Bowling all-events champion.
"This is a good sign because it's only day one and, as we move forward, we're only going to get stronger each day."
In the men's singles, 19-year-old Cheah Ray Han finished third with 1,316 pinfalls, behind Malaysia's Tan Chye Chern (1,334) and Thailand's Annop Arromsaranon (1,331).
Singapore's medallists yesterday
- New Hui Fen (bowling, women's singles)
- Amita Berthier (fencing, women's individual foil)
- Gong Qianyun (women's rapid chess)
- Cheyenne Goh (ice-skating, women's 500m short track speed skating)
- Jowen Lim (wushu, men's daoshu & gunshu)
- Maxine Wong (fencing, women's individual foil)
- Ho Xiu Yi (shooting, women's 10m air rifle)
- Adele Tan (shooting, women's 10m air rifle)
- Shayna Ng (bowling, women's singles)
- Cheah Ray Han (bowling, men's singles)
- Victoria Chin, Cheyenne Goh, Soo Kar Weng, Suvian Chua (ice-skating, short track speed skating, women's 3,000m relay)
- Clive Leu (fencing, men's individual sabre)
* As of press time.