Professional bowler Sarah Yap to serve as full-time coach of CNMI team By Mark Rabago


    Northern Marianas

    Republished courtesy of Saipan Tribune Online

    SarahYap01.jpg Professional bowler Sarah Yap has been hired by the Saipan Bowling Association to serve as the full-time coach of both the senior and junior national teams.

    Yap arrived on Saipan three weeks ago to get a feel of the situation and left Sunday for her native Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 2005 Guam International Open champion and No. 8 in the Asian Bowling Ranking said she would return to Saipan in early January to assume her full-time coaching duties.

    So far, the 32-year-old right-hander has had two sessions with the islands' up-and-coming youth bowlers, where she taught them the proper stance and technique as well as how to warm up for games.

    "I'm very excited to coach the CNMI (Editor's note: The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is a chain of 14 volcanic islands located in the Western Pacific at the Eastern boundary of the Philippine Sea.) national teams-both seniors and juniors. The kids have been willing to learn and are very hungry for knowledge. I would like to help them as well as veteran bowlers to get to the next level in the sport of bowling," she said.

    Born in Perak, Malaysia, Yap's bowling career is highlighted by wins in the 1997 Asian Bowling Tour Grand Slam (champion), 1999 AMF Bowling World Cup in Las Vegas (bronze medal), 2000 Asian Championship in Qatar (silver medal), 2001 Southeast Asian Games (team gold), 2002 Asian Championships in Hong Kong (team gold), 2002 Busan Asian Games (doubles gold), 2004 Philippines Open Masters Champion, 2005 Vietnamese Open, and the aforementioned tournament on Guam, where she beat Hong Kong's Vanessa Fung for the gold.

    It was actually Yap's second time on Saipan. She said she came here for vacation some 10 years ago and is happy to see a lot of improvements on the island. "It's pretty nice here. It's definitely not like the city. I find it very comfortable here and life here is pretty simple. I think I wouldn't have any problems living here," she said.

    Yap added since she would be taking the full-time head coaching job for the CNMI national teams, she is planning to pare down her stints in regional and international competitions from 12 to six tournaments a year.

    SBA president Jerry Tan said the hiring of Yap was the next logical step for SBA given the growth of bowling the past couple of years on the island.

    "We hired Sarah because the last two years we noticed that we were able to generate a lot of interest from new bowlers, both adults and the youth. It is important that we have a coach that would give them proper coaching so that every new bowler would start to learn the sport correctly," he said.

    "For longtime bowlers, again we have a coach that could help them further improve their game. Hopefully, with Sarah on board we would be able to grow the sport. I always believe that the better you bowl, the more you enjoy the sport, and the more you enjoy, the more you would be interested to play the game."