Young Singaporean bowlers Kiew and Tham aim to impress
Young duo hope performances at Singapore Open will earn nod for SEA Games
It's no surprise that Singapore's top bowlers have brought their "A" game to the the 49th Singapore International Open.
Besides the honour of being crowned the Republic's top bowlers on offer, the Singapore Open is also used by the national selectors from the Singapore Bowling Federation to pick their teams for the 29th South-east Asia Games in Kuala Lumpur in August.
"The Singapore Open is a selection trial of sorts (for the SEA Games)," senior assistant coach Jason Yeong-Nathan told The New Paper at Temasek Club yesterday.
"After the tournament, the coaches will have a discussion before making a final decision (on the six men and six women who will represent Singapore)."
Two young male bowlers have boosted their chances to make their SEA Games debut in August.
At press time yesterday, national bowlers Marcus Kiew and Timothy Tham were second and third in the local pool of the men's open qualifying rounds.
The bowlers were allowed multiple tries during the qualifying stage to better their scores, but had to bowl in a series of three games during fixed time slots.
The rankings are based on the total number of pinfalls from their best two series.
With 1,511 pinfalls, Kiew was just one pin behind first-placed Shaun Lau. Tham is third with 1,497.
(Marcus and Timothy) have shown they have the mental strength to handle the pressure, and they’ve proven that they’re here to fight.Singapore Bowling Federation’s senior assistant coach Jason Yeong-Nathan
"(Marcus and Timothy) have shown they have the mental strength to handle the pressure, and they've proven that they're here to fight," said Yeong-Nathan.
Kiew also won $5,000 from a perfect game during the earlier stages of the tournament.
The 20-year-old, who won a bronze medal in last year's event, hopes to maintain his form till the semi-finals and, hopefully, final tomorrow, but admitted that he needs to up his game to land the prestigious title.
"My performance in the Singapore Open so far is pretty decent, but there's still room for improvement," Kiew told TNP.
"The higher the expectation, the greater the disappointment.
"I've learnt that focusing on the process and picking up my spares are the key to becoming a better bowler."
Tham, 19, said: "I think I've been exceeding expectations so far (in the Singapore Open).
"But I'm not thinking about the outcome. I'm just trying to focus on the process and let the result come naturally.
"(Looking forward to the SEA Games), we are tactically sound and we already have an idea of what we want to do."
Jaris Goh, who was part of the 2015 SEA Games contingent which won 10 medals, has high hopes for the young duo.
He was ranked 12th in the local pool at press time.
Said the 22-year-old: "Marcus and Timothy are really good bowlers and they show a lot of potential.
"(After every tournament,) they are always eager to learn what went wrong, and then fix the problems."
In the women's open, Joey Yeo (1,506), Cherie Tan (1,443) and Kristin Quah (1,412) were leading the local qualifying table at press time.
Both the men's and women's semi-finals and finals will take place tomorrow.
A record 688 participants from 15 countries, including national bowlers from Malaysia, Japan and South Korea, are taking part in this year's Singapore Open, with prizes worth up to $170,000.
Said Yeong-Nathan: "I'd say this tournament is on a higher level than the SEA Games, perhaps on the Asian Games level.