Keglers can better Busan haul By Ajitpal Singh



    Republished courtesy of News Straits Times Online (Oct 4, 2006)

    2006AsianGamesLogo.jpg Bowling could surpass its two-gold medal haul in Busan four years ago. Chef-de-mission Datuk A Sani Karim believes the current squad have the depth and experience to win enough gold medals in Doha to leapfrog badminton and athletics as the biggest contributors of gold medals in the history of the Asian Games.

    To date, bowling has contributed five gold medals, the third highest in terms of number of gold behind athletics (eight) and badminton (six). Quite a good record considering that Malaysia only competed in bowling from the 1978 Bangkok Games.

    "Expectations are high but I believe the bowlers are strong enough to win several gold medals in Doha," he said after meeting the national bowlers at Endah Parade Bowling Centre in Sri Petaling yesterday.

    "I dare say this after considering the fact that each bowler in the national team has won several open and world titles this year." Sani said the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) has put bowling as one of few sports that Malaysia are sure of bringing back gold medals.

    "However, I am not putting the bowlers in any kind of pressure.
    "I know they are good and very capable of delivering," he said.

    Malaysia’s first bowling gold came in the 1978 Bangkok Games through the men’s team that comprised current national coach Holloway Cheah, Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) president Datuk Dr P.S Nathan, Alan Hooi, J.B. Khoo and Edward Lim.

    Shalin Zulkifli was Malaysia’s trump card in the 1994 Hiroshima Games, when she bagged two gold medals as a 16-year-old in the all-events and trios (together with Shirley Chow and Lydia Kwah).

    In the 2002 Busan Games, Malaysia won two gold medals in the masters (Shalin) and doubles (Wendy Chai and Sarah Yap). Sani said the squad should start as favourites in the men’s and women’s trios and team event.

    "However, the bowlers should be able to make a strong impact in the singles, doubles, all-events and masters as well."

    Meanwhile, the MTBC has made a request to the OCM to speak to the Asian Games organisers as to whether the bowlers can have unofficial practices at the venue — the Qatar International Bowling Centre.

    It is learnt that the centre is undergoing refurbishment which also includes the replacement of its lanes. MTBC secretary Sidney Tung said that according to the Asian Games regulations, the venues must be open to competing countries 15 days before the opening ceremony.

    The organisers had informed the MTBC that the bowling centre will only be open to competitors on Nov 30, four days before the start of the event. "They are violating the Asian Games rules. I have spoken to OCM on this matter and hope the council will make a protest to the organisers," added Sidney.