Bowling: A new star

Bowling: A new star
National kegler New Hui Fen won the women's masters at the 23rd Asian Tenpin Bowling Championships in Bangkok's Blu-O Rhythm & Bowl Ratchayothin.

Coach Remy Ong described her as a "media outcast", a bowler who does not make the headlines as often as teammates such as Jazreel Tan, Shayna Ng and Cherie Tan.

Maybe, New Hui Fen has had enough of playing bridesmaid.

Using a new ball - the only one of seven that wasn't initially registered - New stormed to victory in the Asian Tenpin Bowling Championships women's masters event in Bangkok yesterday.

The 22-year-old beat South Korean Son Yun Hee 270-193 in the deciding game to win her second gold medal at the tournament, after the Singapore women won the trios event last week.

New's 16-game qualifying score of 4,038 pinfalls smashed the previous record of 3,751 pinfalls set by South Korean Choi Jin A in 2008.

Speaking to The New Paper after her win, New explained why she changed her ball, saying: "We are allowed to register six balls for this competition, but I brought along seven.

"But the balls I were using didn't work well on the long oils, and I just had a feeling that that one ball could help me.

"And it worked."

She also felt her physical strength gave her an edge over her opponents. "I'm more of a power player, and my game is closer to a guy's game, which gives me an advantage over other girls,"

explained New, who is used to smashing pins with a 15-pound bowling ball. "We have been working on our lower body and core strength, which has helped improved my balance a lot."

Ong believes her change in attitude and fierce work ethic over the past year are bearing fruit.

He said: "She may not be a star like Jazreel, Shayna or Cherie; but Hui Fen has been the one who has consistently been in medal contention and winning medals at major championships.

"At one stage, she wasn't considered for the team because of her attitude. She was quite 'bo chup' (care less attitude), the happy-go-lucky type.

"But we asked her what she really wanted to achieve in bowling, and as she matured, she is now more driven and more focused.

"And I commend her for her effort because she has worked very hard."

ENJOYED

New has certainly enjoyed her time in Bangkok.

She was part of the women's team - with Joey Yeo, Geraldine Ng, Bernice Lim, Daphne Tan and Jasmine Yeong- Nathan - that claimed the silver medal with a score of 6,259 pinfalls, 180 short of gold medallists South Korea.

After a strong showing at last year's Asian Games (one gold, two silver, one bronze) and the 2015 Asian championships, Singapore's women bowlers will be expected to shine at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games on home soil in June.

"It's a good build-up to the SEA Games, but with that comes more expectations, although it's a happy problem," said Ong.

"Our men's team did not win any medals here but I felt they bowled well," he added.

"The men's game is much harder simply because there are more teams from more countries involved.

"Our team still need more experience to win medals in the future."


This article was first published on January 27, 2015.
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