World champion at 19 By Lim Han Ming



    Republished courtesy of Singapore Electric New Paper (July 22, 2007)

    SingaporeAdeleneWee1.jpg SHE was Singapore's first world bowling champion.

    Adelene Wee wrote herself into the history books when she won the women's Masters title at the 1985 World Games in London.

    She was only 19 then.

    Left: Adelene Wee celebrates being crowned Sportswoman of the Year at a tender age of 17.

    A niggling hamstring injury failed to stop Wee as she blazed the lanes at Stevenage Bowl, England, with a 200.1 average to become world champion.

    She was treated to a glorious homecoming when a Rolls Royce chaffeured her from Changi Airport to the Kallang Bowl for a rousing reception.

    She said then: 'It's my proudest moment in bowling. I had always dreamt of becoming a world champion since I was young.'

    Born in 1965, Wee is the second youngest of seven siblings.

    Two of her elder brothers, Patrick and Mike, were former national bowlers.

    Wee picked up the sport at the age of 13.

    Besides showing plenty of potential, Wee's strength lies in her work ethics. She would spend hours honing her bowling skills.

    SingaporeAdeleneWee2.jpg Two years later, she is already a world champion.

    The bowling fraternity knew they had a champion in the making when Wee came out of nowhere to win the Singapore International Bowling Championships in 1982. She was only 16 then.

    Four gold medals at the second Sukhumvit Open in Thailand that same year, including setting a new world six-game series record of 1,280 points, ensured that she was a shoo-in for the Sportsgirl of the Year and Sportswoman of the Year titles.

    After another golden performance at the 1983 Asian FIQ Youth Championships, Wee's crowning glory came at the World Games two years later. She was also named the Sportswoman of the Year.

    But as the World Games and the Asian FIQ Youth Championships did not fall under the Singapore National Olympic Council's Multi-Million Dollar Award Programme, Wee did not receive any monetary reward for her efforts.

    But she was given two pendants - a gold one from the Singapore Tenpin Bowling Congress (now known as Singapore Bowling Federation) and a diamond-studded one from the now-defunct Singapore Women's Bowling Congress.

    Wee was also given life-time memberships by all the bowling centres.

    She ended her career on a high when she partnered Grace Young to the women's doubles gold at the 1993 SEA Games on home soil.

    After she retired, Wee worked as an insurance agent and as a sports therapist.

    Now 42, she is a devout Christian who spends a lot of time teaching at her church.

    She said in an interview two years ago: 'I still enjoy bowling, but my new love is God and teaching.'


    IF only bowling was an Olympic sport at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Wee would have been one of the top picks for a gold medal.

    After all, the former national bowler was queen of the bowling lanes in the early 1980s.

    In 1982, a wide-eyed Wee, then 16, rose to the fore by winning the Singapore International Bowling Championships.

    That same year, she broke Filipino legend Bong Coo's world record for a six-game series with a total of 1,280 pinfalls at the Sukhumvit Open title in Thailand.

    Wee also won six gold medals at the Asian FIQ Youth Championships in 1983 and 1985.

    She also took home five gold medals for Singapore at the South-east Asia Games in a 10-year spell between 1983 and 1993.


    1985 - Became Singapore's first world bowling champion when she won the Ladies' Masters title at the World Games in London.

    - Won three gold medals in the singles, Masters and team events at the 1985 Asian FIQ Youth Championships in Indonesia.

    1983 - Won gold in the doubles, All-events and Masters at the Asian FIQ Youth Championships in Australia.

    - Won the Asian Cup title. Finished sixth at the 1983 World Cup.

    1982 - Won the Singapore International Bowling Championships as a 16-year-old. Set a world record for six-game series at Sukhumvit Open in Thailand.

    South-east Asia Games - Won five gold medals between 1983 and 1993.