Friday August 31, 2012
Old hands have not lost their passion to set new milestones
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: Bowlers Alex Liew and Shalin Zulkifli have proudly represented the country for years but the best, they say, is yet to come.
Alex and Shalin, the two most experienced members of the men’s and women’s teams respectively, will leave for Hong Kong tomorrow to compete in the Asian Champion-ships and have vowed to be in striking form.
The duo, who juggle their time between bowling and parenthood, have been representing the country in the Asian meet for the last 12 years and their experience will be valuable as the team begin their campaign on Sunday.
As Malaysia celebrates its 55th Independence Day today, they also hope to make the nation proud – especially as Malaysia celebrates its 55th Independence Day today.
Southpaw Alex, a double gold medallist at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, admitted that he has grown old but “I have not lost the fire in my belly”.
“Yes, people ask me what keeps me going in bowling and whether I get bored with it. I realised that the longer I am in the team, the greater my fighting spirit becomes,” said Alex.
“Twelve years have passed since I first bowled at the 2000 Asian Championships (Qatar). I have enjoyed every minute of representing the country.
“I have accumulated heaps of experience and I will do my best to guide the team – especially during tensed situations. Our men’s team have clicked well despite the mix of young and old and we are looking forward to another great trip.
“Our men have won the team gold twice (in Indonesia in 2006 and Hong Kong in 2008). Hong Kong has been a great hunting ground for us. I was in the team that won a silver in Hong Kong in 2002 also,” added the 36-year-old Alex.
The others in the men’s team are Aaron Kong, Adrian Ang, Zulmazran Zulkilfi, Syafiq Ridhwan and Nur Aiman.
For the 33-year-old Shalin, the Asian meet will be her first major assignment after giving birth to a baby girl last year.
But motherhood hasn’t numbed her cutting edge nor her passion to set new milestones.
“I keep coming back because of my desire to be the best in everything that I do. I am a very competitive person so I love challenges ... and I love winning for the nation,” said Shalin, who was a member of the team that won the gold at the Asian meet in 2002.
Her team-mates for the Hong Kong trip are Zandra Aziela Ibrahim Hakimi, Esther Cheah, Sin Li Jane, Jacqueline Sijore and Siti Safiyah Amirah.
With the two pillar of strengths in the team, Malaysia can look forward to equally strong performances in the men’s and women’s team events.
Malaysia have not won both the men’s and women’s team golds in the same series.
The closest they came was in 2002 at the same venue in Hong Kong when the men nailed a silver while the women rolled down the gold.
Besides the team event, the others are singles, doubles, trios, All-Events and Masters.