What do I like about bowling? I’m attracted to the sound of the ball striking the pins. The impact gives me an adrenalin rush, and it drives me to strike over and over again.

Before I started bowling seriously at 14, I played netball in school, but I also bowled recreationally with my parents at Orchid Country Club. One day, some classmates who spotted me bowling at the club asked me to join them for the C Division National Schools Championship.

I thought why not. Without any prior training, I showed up, and somehow won silver in my very first competition. I was shocked by all the media attention I got, but from then on, I switched from netball to bowling, and eventually made it into the national squad.

I think I faced my biggest challenge after winning my first World Cup title in 2012. I was 23 and over the moon because I had finally achieved my dream, but everyone’s expectations just skyrocketed from there. There was suddenly so much pressure for me to continually win.

Instead of focusing on what I had to do in other competitions, I’d think about how people would react if I lose. I wasn’t prepared for that kind of pressure and I allowed it to get to me, and my bowling career went through this lull period because of it.

My performance only started to slowly pick up again after I saw a sports psychologist. Bowling is really about managing your emotions and maintaining the right state of mind as you play for over 10 hours, and the psychologist helped me achieved a positive mindset.

Now, I just focus on the aspects of the game that are within my control. If you ask whether I’ll win another championship or get gold in the upcoming SEA Games, I wouldn’t know, but I can promise you that I’ll give it my 100 percent.

Being an athlete is never easy. From personal experience, I can say that you’ll only treasure winning after going through tough times. I’m learning to hang in there when times get tough, and I hope others will too.” – Shayna Ng, 27

Interview by: Arman Shah