14 February 18 The Straits Times by NATALIE CHOY CHING MUN
Singapore will host the first leg of the inaugural World Para Bowling Series next week that will see more than 50 para-bowlers from eight countries vie for the singles, doubles, trios and masters titles.
Team Singapore will be up against para-bowlers from Australia, Brunei, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea at the Temasek Club from Feb 25 to March 2.
The new tour series aims to provide more competition opportunities for para-bowlers. Hong Kong (March 27-31) and Kuching, Malaysia (July 31-Aug 5) will host the remaining two legs of the series.
National para-bowler and three-time Asean Para Games (APG) champion Ismail Hussain said: "I'm thankful and excited to have this competition on home ground. The strong show of support will motivate us in preparing for the upcoming Asian Para Games."
The Singapore leg will also serve as the national qualifier for October's Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Republic clinched two bronze medals in bowling at the 2014 edition in Incheon, South Korea.
Singapore Disability Sports Council president Kevin Wong said the tournament will give para-bowlers more competition exposure and raise awareness of the sport.
He believes it will be a springboard to "build a pipeline of para-bowling talents who will continue to put Singapore on the world stage".
Singapore's para-sport fraternity has been gaining prominence in recent years.
In 2015, Singapore hosted the 8th APG and wrapped up a successful campaign with a record haul of 24 gold medals.
The momentum continued at last year's APG in Kuala Lumpur, where the Republic fielded its biggest overseas contingent of 90 athletes and clinched 50 medals - the most medals won at an away APG.
The bowlers contributed to that tally with two golds, one silver and five bronze medals.