Posts Tagged world champion

ESTHER CHEAH – A World Champion

 Esther had agreed to an interview with Ivy when she was back home for her semester break, but due to unforseen circumstances, it did not take place. Nevertheless, this excerpt from ‘The New Straits Times’ should be just as good.


SUNDAY GUEST WITH ESTHER CHEAH: Stepping into the unknown is a challenge I relish



TO tell you the truth, I will be in unknown territory when I don my university colours for the men’s team in collegiate tournaments.

Of course I’m really excited but also slightly worried. I don’t really know what to expect and the format of play will also be foreign to me.

However, it’s a challenge I’m ready to take. In fact, I’m determined to make a name for myself when it starts.

But the stint is not all about improving my skills and game, it’s also about keeping my diet and fitness in check.

I have to admit I’ve gained a bit of weight off late, and I need to lose some kilogrammes.
During my recent semester break in Kuala Lumpur, I spent a bit of time at the National Sports Institute where I received treatment for my recurring back injury.

I was also given a comprehensive diet and fitness programme to guide me through here (US).

I need to follow both programmes strictly as it’s part of the preparation for the Women’s World Championships in July (Las Vegas).

Anyway, I was spotted by David Kilts, the coach of my university’s men’s team, last August when I was going through routine training at the Sun Valley Lanes Centre which is a 10-minute drive from my hostel.

Kilts was impressed with the way I bowled and he initially invited me to represent his own club for the centre’s (Sun Valley) weekend league.

As time went by, he decided that I should play for the university men’s team and this offer came somewhere last October, just before I left for the World Ranking Masters in Mexico. Of course I agreed.

The men’s inter-university season is ongoing and I should be making my debut very soon.

The stint is timely as it’s a world championships year, and bowling with the boys will definitely build my confidence. It will also give me the opportunity to learn more about the American game.

It may be something new for me but in the US, it’s a norm for men and women bowlers to compete under one umbrella tournament.

The regional tournaments follow the same concept. I played in one of them last year and I was surprised at the large number of women competing against men in the event. I did not do too well as it was my first try.

My acceptance into the men’s team also ends all my struggles in the US, which I had to endure since 2006.

Arrangements were initially made for me by the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) that I would study and also bowl at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln but upon arriving, I was told that I was barred from National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) women’s tournaments due to my professional status in Malaysia.

I appealed several times and while awaiting an answer, I was allowed to train with the university’s women’s team.

But the NCAA refused to budge from its decision and that’s when, just before the 2007 Korat Sea Games, I decided to train and compete on my own.

It was tough training on my own without any guidance as I always had my father and national coach Holloway Cheah or other coaches by my side.

I kept in touch with my dad online and he would give me tips and advice on my game.

It was not the same as compared to having him around but I knew I had no choice but to adapt with the arrangement.

However, despite the shortcoming I managed three gold medals in Korat and also a gold in last year’s Asian Championships.

My goal for this year is of course to help Malaysia successfully defend the world title in the team event in Las Vegas and also try qualify for the Professional Bowlers’ Association (PBA) women’s tour.

It will be extremely tough this time at the world meet as professional bowlers will make their appearance for the first time.

Of course the United States will emerge with a stronger team as they will have professionals to rely on.

As for turning professional, I will need to compete in the women’s tour qualifiers. It will be my second try after failing to make the cut last season.

Generally, I have a lot more to learn and achieve in the game and despite my achievements, I am hungry for more.


Esther is a two-time world champion with a long line of credentials to her name. Expect a lot more achievements from this very talented young bowler.

Till next time…happy bowling.


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