Bowler Jazreel says Asiad experience is a real eye-opener

She and her teammates toppled the mighty South Korea on their own ground two months ago to clinch the coveted bowling team gold at the Incheon Asian Games.

Jazreel Tan then went on to become the best-performing Singaporean at the Games with a gold, two silvers and one bronze.

Last night, the 25-year-old was among the top earners at the Multi-million Dollar Award Programme (MAP) ceremony and appreciation dinner at the Pan Pacific Singapore.

After taking into account the mandatory 20 per cent of the award money that would go back to the respective national sports associations, Tan took home almost $214,000.

Swimmer Joseph Schooling, 19, was the top recipient last night - his one gold, one silver and one bronze at the Asiad, along with his silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow earned him $290,000.

Sailor Jodie Lai, 13, was the third-highest earner, taking home $160,000 for her gold in the women's Optimist at the Asiad.

Tan said: "The money will come in handy, since I am training full-time now. I will probably save most of the money, and perhaps I will do some investments."

Recounting the Asiad, she said: "The stress we faced there was probably the most I've experienced ever.

"We were seen as the team who are capable of beating South Korea and, the first few days, we weren't doing that well."

The experience of handling that stress, along with the extra cash, will go a long way in her preparations for the South-east Asia (SEA) Games here next year.

"I've been feeling excited, nervous and stressed since it was announced that Singapore would host the SEA Games. We will be expected to do well, and more so after the Asian Games," she said.

"But we will work around the stress, it can be a positive or a negative thing, depending on how you approach it."

As for Jodie, she is taking a zen approach towards the SEA Games next year.

"I am aiming to qualify for the SEA Games team next year, and I won't say that there won't be pressure competing on home ground, but I will just try my best," said the youngster, who is saving the bulk of her award money for her university studies in the future.

"If I do that and don't do well, I would have no regrets."

Schooling was represented by his parents Colin and May, who posed happily for the photographers, clutching framed personalised messages from Singapore National Olympic Council president and Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin, who was the guest of honour last night.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong also attended the gala dinner.

A total of $560,000 was given out to Team Singapore athletes who clinched eight gold, five silver and four bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games.

Also, some $2.88 million was presented to athletes who brought home five golds, six silvers and 13 bronzes at the Asian Games in Incheon.

Also, the Asiad medallists - as well as shooter Jasmine Ser, who set a new Games record in the women's 50m rifle three positions - were each presented a watch by official Asiad timekeeper Tissot.

Said Minister Tan at the ceremony: "You have all been an inspiration... congratulations on prevailing over the adversities and soldiering on for Singapore.

"In seven months' time, this is the same spirit we will need to succeed as a team at the 2015 SEA Games."

This article was first published on Nov 12, 2014.
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