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Singapore

Bowling: Finally, Cherie Tan gets overdue milestone

When news filtered through in the wee hours of Aug 31 that Cherie Tan had triumphed in the Masters event of the World Bowling Women's Championships, her father, Richard Tan, was not just overjoyed.

"I was also very relieved for her," said the 61-year-old.

"She had always come so close over so many years, but never quite got the gold."

At this year's World Championships in Las Vegas, Cherie beat Colombia's top-ranked Maria Rodriguez 2-0 (203-201, 258-217) in the best-of-three series.

Rodriguez, 30, had claimed the all-events gold with 5,488 pinfalls.

The win meant Cherie, 31, became the first Singaporean to win the Masters title at the world meet.

For her feat, she was named the joint-winner of The Straits Times' Star of the Month for August.

She shares this month's award with national shuttler Yeo Jia Min, who became the first Singaporean to reach the women's singles quarter-finals at the badminton world championships.

NO LONGER BRIDESMAID

I was also very relieved for her. She had always come so close over so many years, but never quite got the gold.

RICHARD TAN, Cherie's father, on her Masters triumph at the World Bowling Women's Championships.

It is the first time the monthly award has been shared by two winners.

The award is an extension of ST's Athlete of the Year prize, which was launched in 2008. Both are backed by F&N's 100Plus.

Cherie, who is still in the United States preparing for the Professional Women's Bowling Association (PWBA) Tour Championship, which begins tomorrow, told ST: "It's a huge honour and I'm thankful for the award."

This milestone win came after several near-misses on the world stage.

She had only four silvers (singles and trios in 2015 and team in 2011 and 2017) and two bronzes (doubles and team in 2015) to show for, despite winning gold at the SEA Games (singles and trios) and Asian Games (trios and team).

ST sports editor Lee Yulin said: "Cherie is not only a role model for her discipline and hard work, but also for her patience and perseverance.

"She has plugged on despite a litany of close calls and disappointments on the world level, and I am glad she has finally tasted success."

Cherie's mother, Josephine, who accepted her Star of the Month award on her behalf, added: "She also finished second at the World Cup (in Russia in 2013, by two pinfalls), but gold was elusive. So we were very happy for her."

Family, it turns out, is an important part of the champion kegler's support system.

Even though they are separated by the Pacific Ocean, Richard and Josephine keep up to date with Cherie's matches through live updates on Lanetalk, a mobile phone app for bowling scores.

With Cherie's younger sister Daphne, 28, also a part of Singapore's bowling squad, she was able to deliver the news through their family WhatsApp chat group.

Josephine and Richard also travel abroad to support their daughters, such as at the 2017 World Championships, also held in Las Vegas.

There was even more joy for the Tan family when Cherie followed up her World Championships victory by winning the QubicaAMF PWBA Players Championship in Raleigh, North Carolina, a week later.

With the Tour Championship in her sights, Cherie could make it an unprecedented hat-trick of major titles in the coming days.

As far as her father is concerned, long may her good form continue.

"We know that sport is something where you cannot expect to win everything," he said.

"But it's a pleasant surprise she has got back-to-back wins, and we hope it is the case that she will keep winning."

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