SBF's 38-lane, $2m bowling centre in Temasek Club to open by 3rd quarter
THE new year is barely two days old but Singapore's national bowlers know they are set for a historic 2015 as they prepare to lift the curtains on a new home.
Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF) president Jessie Phua announced yesterday that the national team will have their own training lanes, when the association opens its 38-lane, $2 million bowling centre at the Temasek Club.
Said the SBF chief at the national sports association's annual New Year's dinner at the Singapore American Club: "(This year) will see Singapore Bowling set up our first training centre at the Temasek Club.
"We never had a place to call home... in a way, we are like nomads. But we will have the 38-lane centre up and running by the third quarter. It's something exciting to look forward to."
The centre, which is fully owned by the SBF, will not only be the training base for the national keglers but will also be open to the public. The cost of the project is borne by the association with its advanced drawdown of its funding from Sport Singapore.
Phua, who came into office in 2002, said the centre is part of the sport's long-term plan to become financially independent.
"It is a sizeable investment on our part. Depending on funding is not a sustainable model.
"But because of the characteristic of our sport, we can be commercially viable," she added.
Phua revealed that talks with other organisations and schools are under way as SBF seeks to nail down plans for two more training centres, and get them up and running in the "not so distant future".
"By having three centres across the island, we hope to reach out to the whole of Singapore," she said.
The news comes as the bowlers gear up for an exciting 2015 which will reach a crescendo at the Singapore SEA Games in June.
Phua was in a confident mood ahead of the biennial meet, especially after the women's bowlers won the team event at last year's Incheon Asian Games.
She said: "The SEA Games (gold medal) is ours to lose. If you beat South Korea for gold, technically, you are No. 1 in the world.
"The boys came home from the Asian Games devastated but (national coach) Remy (Ong) has really cracked the whip. He told me if this crop stays committed, they can match up and even outshine the girls."
Last night's dinner honoured the outstanding performers of 2014. Jazreel Tan won the Bowler of the Year award after a standout performance in Incheon.
There, she emerged as Singapore's most bemedalled athlete at the Games, with one gold, two silvers and a bronze.
The 25-year-old was unable to attend the dinner as she is in Sweden competing at the 35th AIK International Tournament.
Her male colleague, Joel Tan, 19, was awarded Best Youth Bowler after he made headlines when he achieved four perfect 300-pinfall games at the 15th Milo International Junior All-Stars Bowling Championship in Malaysia.
He also won the Boys' Open title at the same competition.
Said Joel: "Last year has been really eventful and the award is vindication that all my effort hasn't gone to waste.
"I'm looking forward to 2015 and I'm confident whoever is selected will fulfil our dream of winning the team gold on home soil."
The night's other winners were SBF admin manager Shirine Dhillon, who was honoured for her 21 years of service to the SBF, and national deputy coach Francis Yeo, for his decade-long tenure.
This article was first published on Jan 3, 2015.
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