Teams at the Singapore Para Bowling International 2023 (Photo credit: SDSC/Stefanus Ian)
About 60 para bowlers from eight countries celebrated the kickoff of the Singapore Para Bowling International 2023 at Temasek Club this morning. The tournament, jointly organised by the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) and the Bowling Association for the Disabled (Singapore) (BADS), will see para bowlers with visual, physical and intellectual impairment competing over three days from 5 to 7 October.
Day one of the tournament saw Team Korea top the medal table, with the completion of the Singles events, followed by Team Singapore and Team Czech Republic. Team Singapore finished the day with 1 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze medals, with Ismail Hussein snatching the gold in a surprise turn of events after the fourth game, in which he had ended in third place.
Australia’s sole athlete, Marilyn Luck, topped the TPB1 (Mixed) Singles event, bringing the country to fourth place on the medal table, despite being the only fully blind bowler at the tournament not using a guide rail.
The competition marks the third time that Singapore is playing host to international para bowlers, with the previous editions in 2018 and 2019. Para tenpin bowling has been a strong contributor to Team Singapore’s medal tally in the past major games. At the last Asian Para Games 2018, it contributed a silver and a bronze medal to Team Singapore’s medal tally of 10 medals. At the ASEAN Para Games 2017, the sport contributed 8 medals to Team’s medal tally of 52 medals, including 5 golds, 1 silver and 2 bronzes.
“Unfortunately, para tenpin bowling was removed from the list of sports for ASEAN Para Games 2022 and 2023, as well as Asian Para Games 2022. This has had significant consequences on para bowlers around the ASEAN and Asian region, with resources being removed completely or significantly reduced from para athletes who had been training relentlessly in the sport. We, together with BADS, have been finding ways to maintain our team’s training and spirit. These are individuals who have overcome unimaginable barriers to not only participate in sport, but have actually excelled. We needed to step up and find ways for them to continue to shine, and if possible, help other para bowlers who are also facing the same challenges,” said Ms Kelly Fan, Executive Director of SDSC.
The sentiment was shared by Team Singapore para bowler, Diane Neo, who was a silver medalist in the TPB4 Female Singles event at the Asian Para Games 2018. “It was sad that the sport was dropped from the major games. I felt a lot less confident when I played my games today. It is good that we have this tournament, and I hope it’s a step to see it being included back into the major games in future.”
The tournament also provides a rare opportunity for members of the public to understand the sport of para bowling better. Nearly 100 students, including preschoolers as young as four years old, have signed up for learning journeys to the event, where they will take part in blindfolded and seated bowling, to simulate the challenges faced by visually and physically impaired bowlers.
Students from Lighthouse School trying out a game of blind bowling
Please download full media release from here.