SINGAPORE — For most of the past decade, Cherie Tan and New Hui Fen have been rivals as well as teammates in the international bowling circuits.
At the Hanoi SEA Games on Tuesday (17 May), a day after Tan won the women’s singles event ahead of New, the duo paired up to clinch a rare women’s doubles gold for Singapore in dominant fashion at the Vincom Megamall Royal City’s Heroworld Bowling Center.
They led the 12-team field from start to finish, totalling 2,767 pinfalls to clinch the city-state’s first gold in the event since 1995, with silver-medallists Sharon Limansantoso and Tannya Roumimper of Indonesia amassing a distant 2,478 pinfalls.
Malaysia’s Gillian Lim and Nur Syazwani Sahar (2,471 pinfalls) took the bronze, while another Singaporean duo – Bernice Lim and Cherie’s sister Daphne – finished with 2,373 pinfalls.
The men’s doubles competition saw Singapore duos clinching both the silver and bronze medals.
Muhammad Jaris Goh and Timothy Tham amassed 2,592 pinfalls to finish second behind Indonesia’s Ryan Lalisang and Hardy Rachmadian (2,642 pinfalls), while Cheah Ray Han and Darren Ong came in third with 2,551 pinfalls.
Thrilling gold-medal win for men’s epee fencers
Singapore’s fencers also emerged triumphant with two gold medals in the team competitions at the Hanoi Indoor Games Palace.
The women’s foil fencing team – comprising Denyse Chan, Cheung Kemei, Chloe Ng and Maxine Wong – retained their team gold after defeating the Philippines 33-28 in the final.
About an hour later, the men’s epee fencing team – comprising Elliot Han, Samson Lee, Simon Lee and Sito Jian Tong – also clinched gold in thrilling fashion, narrowly defeating two-time defending champions Vietnam 37-36 in the final.
This was the Singapore team’s best-ever result, after they won silvers in 1987, 2015 and 2019.
The two victories gave Singapore their fourth and fifth fencing golds with one more day left in the competition, which will feature the women’s sabre and men’s foil events.
Slew of silvers as S’pore athletes frustrated in hunt of golds
The golds brightened up a frustrating start to the day for Team Singapore athletes, as several of them came up short in their bids to add to the gold tally.
At the Ha Dong Gymnasium, Singapore’s world No.1 pool player Aloysius Yapp was narrowly beaten 7-9 by the Philippines’ Carlo Biado in the 9-ball pool semi-finals, and had to settle for bronze in the event for a second consecutive Games.
Biado, the 2017 world 9-ball champion, had also defeated the 26-year-old Singaporean in last year’s US Open final.
While Yapp has won a SEA Games gold with veteran Toh Lian Han in the 9-ball doubles in 2017, he has yet to clinch a singles gold at the biennial meet.
But a bigger shock for Singapore came later, when four-time world champion Peter Gilchrist lost his six-Games stranglehold on the English billiards title, when he succumbed 1-3 to Myanmar’s Pauk Sa in the final to settle for a silver medal.
The 54-year-old had won every gold medal in the event since the 2009 Vientiane Games until this defeat in Hanoi.
In the women’s 9-ball singles final, Singapore’s Jessica Tan also could not land the gold as she was beaten 2-7 by Filipino pool great Rubilen Amit.
At the Hanoi National Sport Training Center, 16-year-old Games debutant Lionel Wong earned a silver in the men’s 10m air rifle competition, with 246.5 points to finish behind Indonesia’s Fathur Gustafian (247.4 points).
Meanwhile at the chess competition, both Singapore’s Tin Jingyao and Gong Qianyun clinched silver medals after losing their respective finals. Tin, 21, was beaten in the men’s rapid final by Vietnam’s Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, while 36-year-old Gong lost out to Vietnam’s Pham Le Thao Nguyen in the women’s rapid final.