Professional athlete and national bowler
When I got my first strike, the impact and the sound it made gave me a lot of adrenaline. That was when I first fell in love with the sport.
Tell us your story, how did you get here?
I got into bowling through my parents. They were recreational bowlers at a country club and they used to bowl every Friday night with friends and family. I’d accompany them and watch them bowl for three hours. At the age of 10, I was bored of just watching them. So I was like, “you know what? Screw this, I’m going to bowl with them.” That was how I entered the sport.
As bowling wasn’t a common CCA, I was in netball in primary school. Fast forward to secondary school, I was still in netball but was bowling on the side at Orchid Country Club, taking part in interclub leagues. My secondary school offered bowling but I decided to continue my netball journey as bowling was just a recreational activity for me then.
However, some bowlers from my school recognised me through the interclub leagues. They invited me to participate in the bowling C Division to represent the school. So, without going for a single training session, I went to my first-ever bowling competition and won second place. That was a turning point – the school invited me to join the bowling team. It’s funny – I agreed only because of the hot and tiring netball training.
By 14, I was in the National Youth Team and the rest is history.
What impact have you made in Singapore?
It’s definitely been quite a journey. It’s an honour to represent the country and wear the Singapore flag for all competitions around the world. Not just myself – but the whole federation has made Singapore recognisable in the bowling scene. We were never near the top few in the world. But today, the bowling team has transformed into a world-class one.
Aside from the accolades and achievements, I’d like to make an impact in the sports industry and bring it to greater heights. Apart from being an athlete and training every day, I’m also part of a few committees including the Athletes’ Commission and Women in Sport.
At Athletes’ Commission, we act as a voice for athletes in Singapore. We help and provide them with resources in and out of their sporting regimes such as mental health and athlete transition after they’re done with their sports careers. As for the Women in Sport Committee, we aim to increase the participation rate of females in sports including coaches, referees and female administrators and leaders working in federations or Olympic councils. I do my part to increase women’s participation as a whole, not just the athletes.
What does 2022 look like for you?
We have a few upcoming competitions lined up for us but it’s very grey because of the whole Covid situation. We’re not fully back on track yet. I was supposed to be in Finland and Sweden in January, and Germany in March, but both competitions were cancelled. But we’re looking to go for the professional tour in the US in June. We’re training really hard despite the setbacks.
What do you love most about Singapore?
We’re a very small and connected country, which is great as we’re a tight-knitted community. Sports as a whole is gaining more traction and the support we get from the country has been growing. 20 years ago, you didn’t have many people being active in sports or supporting sportsmen or women as much as today. I feel we’re closing that gap. When Joseph Schooling won his first gold Olympic medal, everyone was so happy. It just shows how sports can unite a community.
And of course the food! I travel a lot, sometimes for a good two months, so the thing I miss most is the food.
What do you love most about your sport?
I was 10 years old when I first bowled. I don’t think I experienced adrenaline in my life until I started bowling. When I got my first strike, the impact and the sound it made gave me a lot of adrenaline. That was when I first fell in love with the sport.
Throughout my 17-year journey, my motivation naturally fluctuates. There are days, especially during the pandemic, when motivation is low as you’re training but not going to any competitions. Or if you’re not doing a good job in a competition. When this happens, I take a step back and simplify everything. I think about the reason I fell in love with bowling and why I picked this sport. Aside from the air-con, it’s the adrenaline that makes me enjoy the sport so much.
Who is your Local Legend, and why?
There are so many! In terms of the sports scene, it’s ex-Singapore Bowling Federation president, Mrs Jessie Phua. She was the president for nearly 20 years and set a great example. As I’ve been around for about 17 years, I can see the difference. It’s not just about professionalism but how she impacted the sport and how it encouraged the community to work together to bring bowling to the next level. She’s also one of the very few female leaders we have in sports and has paved the way for other women to take leadership.
Photography: Kimberly Powers/Storm Products; International Bowling Federation