Bowling: Remy in hot seat

VINTAGE REMY: Remy Ong brings with him a wealth of experience. He also has rapport with the bowlers.

SINGAPORE - The news of his elevation to national coach was celebrated at the Singapore Bowling Federation's (SBF) Chinese New Year dinner and awards night on Wednesday.

But Remy Ong will also know he is in the hot seat, as Singapore bowling prepares for a huge dual mission.

This year's Asian Games will be held in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19 to Oct 4, and eight months later, Singapore will host the 2015 South-east Asia (SEA) Games.

With bowling consistently delivering at such Games over the years, Ong's keglers will be expected to deliver.

The local fraternity has little doubt that Ong is the perfect man for the job. SBF vice-president Robin Yap believes the 35-year-old has the right mentality.

Speaking at the dinner last night, Yap said: "We need to ensure the teams work cohesively and produce the best results.

"Remy has the right mentality to ensure all that. In fact, it was almost unanimous when we deliberated over who to put up."

Ong, who served as deputy head coach over the past year - after former coach William Woo left the SBF - could not attend the dinner due to personal reasons.

EXPERIENCE

He won three gold medals at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea, and hit the heights when he bagged the singles and All Events titles at the men's World Championships in 2006.

He announced his retirement from competitive bowling early last year.

The SBF also announced that former national youth bowlers Helmi Chew and Clara Lau will be national assistant coaches. Long-serving coach, Francis Yeo, will remain in charge of the developmental teams.

Jason Yeong-Nathan, who was Ong's doubles partner at the 2010 Asian Games, has been assisting his former teammate with training the past year.

Having known the two-time Sportsman of the Year for the past decade, Yeong-Nathan describes Ong as a very different person as coach.

"During his bowling days, Remy was very individualistic. Now he's all about teamwork and team bonding," said Yeong-Nathan.

"He's also very current with the game, so he relates well with the players he's coaching."

Keith Saw, the 2013 Sportsboy of the Year, said Ong's coaching methods are diverse, with much focus on handling pressure and teamwork.

"During training, he'll tell us we have to do a forfeit if we don't pick up the last spare. But everyone must meet the challenge, which makes us support each other and work together," the 19-year-old said.

Wednesday night's dinner, at the Royal China at Raffles restaurant, also saw the presentation of the SBF's annual awards.

Shayna Ng, who won the DHC Japan Cup and the Malaysian Open in 2013, was named Bowler of the Year, while 19-year-old Muhammad Jaris Goh bagged the Youth Bowler Award.

Said Ng: "It's been a hell of a year for me, on and off the bowling lanes. I think what helped was that I got off to a good start with the DHC Open in January, and then played consistently.

"Expectations for bowling at the Asian Games are very high... but Remy is an awesome coach with lots of experience. So, we should be prepared for that challenge."

aakasim@sph.com.sg


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