3rd December, Manila: Fresh from winning two gold medals at the 2019 Asian Championships, Timmy Tan bagged the first gold medal for Malaysia with victory in the Men's Singles at the 2019 Philippines 30th SEA Games Bowling Championships.
Indonesia's Billy Muhammad Islam and Hardy Rachmadian set a cracking pace with 289 and 280 in their opening game to lead a field of 30 strong men. Host nation's Kenneth Chua and debutant, Patrick Nuqui were the nearest, sharing third spot with 237.
Whilst Islam dropped his pace a little with 201, Rachmadian fired a superb 245 to take over the running and moving 35 pins ahead of his team-mate. Chua added 247 in his second game to remain in third while Thailand's Annop Arromsaranon and Singapore's Cheah Ray Han both registerd big games to share fourth spot.
Timmy Tan, who started with 225 and 248 in his first two games, set the lanes on fire with a sizzling 277 to become the new leader at the halfway mark. Rachmadian slipped to second as Islam, Arromsaranon and Cheah tied third position.
Despite a lowly 180 in the fourth game, the Malaysian managed to retain his lead with the Thai hot on his heels, just 10 pins adrift. Rachmadian slipped further down to third. Cheah was fourth and Chua in fifth.
The Indonesian recovered with a superb 244 in the fifth game to regain the lead. Tan downed 215 but slipped down to second followed by Arromsaranon still in third. With 11 and 2 pin seprating the leading trio, it came down to who will prevail in the sixth and final game.
It was a nervy end for all the contenders. Tan had an early open frame and could not find a double to cover the deficit. Rachmadian was worst off with two opened frames midway through. Arromsaranon too had a split and was unable to cover it.
Tan eventually ended with 189 in his final game to clinch the gold medal with 1334. The Thai downed 188 to keep second spot and picked up the silver medal with 1331. Cheah ended the strongest with 215 to snatch the bronze medal with 1316.
Rachmadian had a disastrous end with 155 to drop from first to fourth and missing the podium by five pins with 1311. Philippines' Nuqui, who had to double in the tenth frame for a chance of winning a medal, ended with 203 to finish fifth with 1310.
His Excellency, Mr Norman Muhamad, Malaysia's Ambassador to the Philippines, Mr Steve Pobles, President of Philippines Bowling Federation and Assistant Treasurer of Singapore Bowling Federation, Mr Tan Zhi Qiang were on hand to present the medals to the winners.
Competition will shift to the Doubles event with the men tomorrow morning and the women in the afternoon. The Mixed Doubles event, divided into two squads will be contested on December 5 while the Team event, over two blocks of 3 games each will be held on December 6.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Manila.