16th May, Hanoi: Singapore and Philippines shared the limelight on the opening day of the 31st SEA Games Vietnam 2021 with Cherie Tan, New Hui Fen winning the Women's Singles gold and bronze with Merwin Tan bagging the Men's Singles gold with Marie Alexis Sy picking up the Women's silver.
Twelve men, two from each country, took to the lanes for their opening event in the morning at Hero World Bowling Center, Vincom Megamall Royal City Shopping Center. As usual, the men set a cracking pace with 2017 Asian Indoor Games Singles gold medallist, Annop Arromsaranon of Thailand leading with a strong game of 246.
Malaysia's debutant, Shahkruh Amin Zulkifli of Malaysia did well with 244 to trail the Thai while 2019 SEA Games Mixed Doubles gold medallist and Indonesia's prolific kegler, Ryan Lalisang sitting nicely in third with 242.
Arromsaranon, who became the first Asian to win a PBA Word Tour title when he captured the Busan Cup in 2018, continued to set a blistering pace with 245 in his second game to extend his lead to 40 pins as his teammate and 2014 Asian Games Singles gold medallist, Yannaphon Larpapharat added a superb 247 to take over third spot behind the Malaysian maintaining second.
Despite only managing 214 in the third game, Arromsaranon remained in the lead albeit, just 11 pins ahead of his improving fellow Thai moving up to second spot and overtaking Shahkruh Amin. But almost all the men found the lanes tricky and difficult past the halfway mark when Arromsaranon, Lalisang and Shahkruh Amin all stumbling with low games while Larpapharat thrived with a strong 244 to take over the running.
With only two games to go, it looked like a straight fight for the gold amongst two Thais and the Indonesian with the strongest Malaysian out of contention after his disasterous 117. 2017 Asian School All Events champion, Merwin Tan of the Philippines made his bid with 234 in the fifth game when the main medal contenders found the lanes drying up quickly.
With the sixth and final game remaining, Larpapharat, who was leading Lalisang by 48 pins just could not maintain his strong pace ending with 191 for a 1286 total. Tan fired a scintillating 249 to pip the Thai by six pins to snatch the gold with 1292.
Lalisang held on to settle for the bronze medal with 1221 while his teammate, Yeri Ramadona stormed home but missed the podium by just nine pins to take fourth position with 1212. Early pace setter, Arromsaranon rounded up the top 5 with 1209.
In the women's division, 2019 SEA Games Masters gold medallist, New Hui Fen set the early pace and was tussling the lead with her teammate and 2019 World Championships Masters gold medallist, Cherie Tan.
Sharon Limansantoso of Indonesia did well to stay with the leading duo in third. Another Malaysian debutant, Nerosha Keligit and Philippines Marie Alexis Sy taking up fourth and fifth places respectively. By the fourth game, Tan rolled the highest game so far with 278 to take a commanding lead over her compatriot by as much as 63 pins.
The fight for second was very close between New and Limansantoso. With another big game of 275 in the fifth, the gold for the Singaporean was well sealed and after ending with 206 in the sixth game for a 1442 total. New was able to maintain her good pace but the Filipina did better with 235 and 232 in her last two games to clinch the silver medal with 1320.
New was pipped one pin and had to settle for the bronze while Limansantoso missed out to end in fourth with 1316. Keligit rounded out fifth spot with 1249.
Mr Dang Khinh Hao, Chairman, Bowling Organizing Committee, and Mr Nguyen Van Cu, Chairman of Vietnam Bowling Federation were on hand to present the medals and mascots to the medal winners during the medal ceremony.
Competition will shift to the Doubles tomorrow with the men returning to the lanes at 9.00 am and the women at 2.00 pm. There will be twelve men pairs and twelve women pairs being allowed to compete unlike the Singles which only allowed two players per country.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Six South East Asian nations vying for glory