SINGAPORE: South Korean top women bowler Kim Soo-kyung will be relying on some long-distance coaching tips from her father to guide her in her debut in the Aviva Asian Bowling Tour Grand Slam Finals here.
Soo-kyung received good tips from her father, Gap-deuk, who was the national coach for South Korean bowling team in the early 90s, in the Busan Asian Games last and she went on to claim three gold medals.
The reigning Malaysian Open champion and winner of the Malaysian leg of the Tour last year, has a heavy task on her shoulders in the Finals.
The charming and soft-spoken lass will carry the Korean hopes to win the women’s title for the third consecutive time. Kim Hee-soon was the winner in 2000 Tour and Lee Mi-young retained it for the Koreans.
“My father was the one who urged me to take up bowling when I was 11,” said the 25-year-old Soo-kyung.
“I come from a family of bowlers and he always takes a lot of interest in what we do and help us to achieve our goals. If I have some tough decisions to make here, I know who I can rely on.
“I am competing in the Finals for the first time. I am excited and I hope to do my best to win the title.”
However, she acknowledged that the format of competition makes victory more difficult.
“The first two days will be played on round robin basis and then the format changes to the knockout stage. It is pretty much an open affair from here. I will have to watch out for others,” said Soo-kyung.
She surged into the limelight with gold-medal winning efforts in the singles, trios and team of five events and a silver in the doubles at the Asian Games last October. The Daegu City-born Soo-kyung could have won a fourth gold medal if it was awarded for the all-events as well.
Soo-kyung said that there were many youngsters involved in bowling in South Korea.
“But bowling is not popular as a mainstream sport, compared to football, baseball or basketball. But I am glad the government has recognised our achievements in the Asian Games,” she said.
The government has rewarded Soo-kyung with a 400,000 won (about US$380) monthly grant and she will receive the money until she turns 60.
Soo-kyung, nicknamed “Poker Face” by her colleagues for her nerves of steel, is among the three South Korea in the Finals.
The others are Hong Kong Open women’s champion Koo Hyun-jee and men’s qualifier Yoon Dai-young.