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Bowling academies set for bigger role

Singapore Bowling Federation to let its COE take over talent development while it focuses on national training squad

The Singapore Bowling Federation's (SBF) centres of excellence (COE) programme has produced several national keglers such as Joey Yeo, who won the World Open in 2015, and Cheah Ray Han, a member of the national men's team.

Confident of the ability of the COE to nurture talent, the SBF is hoping to let those academies under the scheme play a bigger role. The aim is that by 2023, these academies will be responsible for talent in the national development squad, while the SBF focuses on the national training squad, preparing elite-level bowlers for international competitions.

To that end, it announced a comprehensive plan on Friday to increase coaching expertise among its COE coaches, equipping them with not only bowling skills, but also other aspects of sport such as psychology and nutrition.

Speaking at SBF's 10th COE Day at SingaporeBowling @ Rifle Range bowling centre, where the national association paid tribute to the 11 academies under its COE scheme, SBF president Jessie Phua said: "Continuous professional development is important if we want to continue to stay at the top of our game.

"Last year, the SBF council, together with our stakeholders, committed to providing better support for the COEs. Currently, most COEs are able to conduct elementary, intermediate and advance-level programmes.

"I am happy to announce that the SBF will be launching an elite-level training programme. It will
first start at the Singapore Sports School, before rolling it out at the other COE academies."

SBF technical director Sid Allen, together with consultants from around the world, will be developing
the Level 4 coaching certification programme.

“This programme will involve the mental, diet, physical aspects of the game. Speakers from all over the world that are experts in their respective fields will be present to upskill the coaches,” said Allen.

“The programme hopes to set them on a holistic pathway and equip the coaches with the required skills to then nurture better-rounded student athletes.”


Fellow members of the bowling fraternity paid tribute to the significance of the COE.

Don Chan, co-founder of Strike Academy, which has been a part of the COE for seven years, said: “The COE provides a very clear pathway to follow, the consistency from SBF in enforcing the system allows the COE academies to grow.

"On top of training champions like Joey Yeo and Cheah Ray Han, our mission is also to impart life skills to the young... those that benefited from the system holistically, that’s what we’re more proud of.”

Ahmad Safwan Shamsudin, runner-up of last year's Singapore National Men’s Open, credited his stint with Agape Academy, which is also part of the COE, for his initiation into bowling and for playing a part in moulding him.

Said the 22-year-old: “I joined Agape for a year where I was coached by Alvin Koh. When I was 12, I was in the SBF NYDP-COE programme under coach Jerome Tan. I got scouted by Singapore Sports School (SSP) coaches and managed to get into SSP the following year."

The SBF also launched the Vend Cafe, the very first fully automated cafe in a bowling centre. It is operational during the bowling centre's operating hours to ensure the bowlers never have to worry about going hungry.

Singapore Bowling Federation