Asian Games: Finally, gold is their colour

Asian Games: Finally, gold is their colour
Asian Games 2014
(From left) Shayna Ng, Cherie Tan, Joey Yeo, Jazreel Tan, New Hui Fen, and Daphne Tan pose with their gold medals in the Women's Team of 5 bowling event at the Anyang Hogye Gymnasium.

INCHEON - It was an all-out assault on one colour.

A colour that adorned the wrist of some, covered the fingers of others, and occupied the mind of every single person in a Singapore bowling shirt.

They wanted it around their necks.

Gold fuelled the drive, it heaped on the pressure and, yesterday, at the Anyang Hogye Gymnasium, Singapore's female bowlers finally got their hands on what they had set their minds on - a first gold in the team event at an Asian Games.

With 6,119 pinfalls, the quintet of Cherie Tan, Daphne Tan, Shayna Ng, New Hui Fen and Jazreel Tan beat a thus-far dominant South Korean team (6,048) to the finish line, with Indonesia (5,840) a distant third.

Behind the black that they wore on the lanes yesterday was the coming together of a spectrum of individual colours that culminated in the gold that they wore around their necks.

From the struggling star to the bubbly rookie, the varied hues of the women shone through as they finally let their hair down at a fitness park across the street from the arena.

"We really wanted this gold and I can't quite describe the feeling - it's just awesome," said Jazreel, a self-professed lover of gold accessories, who happened to be fiddling with a rose-gold bracelet and ring - both her mother's - that she wore on either hand.

The 25-year-old's total score in the singles, doubles, trios and team events was enough to also see her win an All-Events bronze medal.

While Jazreel was relatively consistent here, Ng, Singapore's most recent Sportswoman of the Year, had endured a torrid time, plagued by pressure and poor form. But she was positively beaming yesterday, her six-game average of 211.50 the best of all the Singapore women.

"Personally, there was a lot of expectations from everyone. I took a bit of time to get back on form, but better late than never. I'm glad to be going home with a gold," said the 24-year-old, whose total score was not enough for her to make the Masters event today.

Her Asiad is over, but she leaves Korea with more than just a piece of metal attached to a pretty piece of string.

Ng will return home with perhaps something even more valuable - a lesson.

"It's not been so hard before... and I've no one to blame but myself. I gave myself a lot of pressure and I'm never going to do that again," she said. While Ng and Jazreel cried after the win, Cherie remained stoic. She stood straight and tall, speaking of targets and promises.

"The burden is finally off. We finally delivered that gold that we said we would," said the left-hander.

Her first thought after winning the event was: "Why are they all crying?"

It wouldn't be hard to imagine her saying that in the gruff tone of Christian Bale's Batman. Cherie's younger sister, the adorably eccentric Daphne, was at the other end of the spectrum.

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