Full-time bowling coach Sarah Yap to return Jan. 7 By Mark Rabago

    12/29/05

    Northern Marianas

    Republished courtesy of Saipan Tribune

    2005SarahYapSaipan.jpg After spending the holiday season with family and tying loose ends back home, Malaysian national bowler Sarah Yap is about ready to embark in her new career on Saipan as coach of the CNMI national bowling team.

    In an e-mail from Kuala Lumpur, Yap acknowledged that she is due back to the islands in Jan. 7 at which time she will assume the coaching reins for both the youth and national bowling programs under the supervision of the Saipan Bowling Association.

    The 32-year-old right-hander visited the CNMI last October to familiarize herself to her future home. She also got a chance to meet her future pupils and had plenty of good things to say about local bowlers, especially those belonging to the junior national bowling team.

    "They are a very young and enthusiastic group. I already have had two sessions with them before I left and I find them very interested and eager to learn and that is always a positive sign," she said.

    Sarap Yap is flanked by Saipan Bowling Association president Jerry Tan, left, and SBA officer Ross Zapanta during her visit to the Saipan Bowling Center last October. Picture courtesy of Mark Rabago.

    Yap, however, said the junior national bowlers still have a lot of things to improve on and that's where her experience and expertise comes in. First thing she noticed, she said, was that none of the youth team members seem to warm-up properly before competition.

    "They do not know the actual exercises one needs to do before playing games in tournaments. So, I gave them some exercises to work on while I'm gone and hopefully when I get back they could be physically stronger," she said. "The most important thing right now is to have their fundamentals right, first."

    2004PHIOpenSarahYap.jpg Yap said her immediate goals is to have the boys ready for next year's Asian Inter-City Tenpin Bowling Tournament that would be held on Guam.

    "If they can get their fundamentals better, they would be hard to beat on Guam and other future regional tournaments for that matter. The most important thing for them right now is to make themselves a little more fit and learn the proper bowling fundamentals," she said. In terms of bowling facilities on Saipan, Yap was blunt in saying that the Saipan Bowling Center in San Jose is very old and in need of some work. Ditto for the Capitol Bowling Center in Garapan. She, however, admitted that her focus right now is helping youth bowlers be the best they can be.

    "I'm having the kids learn the fundamentals of the game and as they get better on the fundamentals then we could work on having the facilities get better too. I also hope to talk to owners to have them invest in good machines, so the bowlers could practice their fundamentals and get to read the lanes better," she said.

    Born in Perak, Malaysia, Yap's bowling career is highlighted by wins in the 1997 Asian Bowling Tour Grand Slam (champion), 1998 AMF Bowling World Cup Las Vegas (third place), 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 recent 2005 Guam International Open, where she beat Hong Kong's Vanessa Fung for the gold.