Malaysian Open champion Zulmazran Zulkifli is in danger of missing the cut for the eight-man elite squad after nine blocks of the selection roll-off in Sunway on Monday. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: Tension is running high for the bowlers as the race to impress the national selectors hits the final swing at the Sunway Mega Lanes in Sunway Pyramid on Tuesday.
The 46 trainees – 23 each in the men’s and women’s sections – started the roll-off on Thursday with only 16 places – eight men and eight women – up for grabs in the elite squad.
The bowlers need to complete 72 games – two blocks of six games a day – over the six-day roll-off. A point is awarded to the bowler who finishes in the top six of each block.
After the completion of nine blocks on Monday, Adrian Ang and Mohd Syafiq Ridhwan Abdul Malek are joint leaders with seven points.
Others in the top eight are Timmy Tan (5), Alex Liew (5), Mohd Rafiq Ismail (4), Syimir Abdul Razak (4), Isaac Russell Paul (3) and Muhd Nur Aiman Khairuddin (3). Conspicuously missing from the top eight is three-time Malaysian Open champion Zulmazran Zulkifli, who only collected two points to sit in 12th spot.
In the women’s section, Sin Li Jane is on top with seven points followed by Esther Cheah (6). The others are Syaidatul Afifah Badrul Hamidi (6), Shalin Zulkifli (5), Natasha Roslan (4), Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman (3), Radin Nur Najwa Arifah Radin Dzulfakar (3) and Jacqueline Jenelee Sijore (3).
Still struggling to make the top eight is Zandra Aziela Ibrahim Hakimi who is in 10th spot with three points.
Bowlers ranked ninth to 14th will join the back-up squad.
The Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress, however, will also base on other factors to pick their squads for the new season.
Said secretary general Cheah Ban Cheng: “For the elite squad, we pick the bowlers based on 70% of their performance in the roll-off. The other 30% will come from the recommendation from the MTBC management committee.”
This is the first time the MTBC are using this system to select the bowlers for the elite and back-up squads.
In previous years, the bowlers were picked based on their past year’s performances.
Ban Cheng said he would also recommend to the management committee to look into the bowlers’ performances for the past one year.
“This new method gives the opportunity to the back-up and youth bowlers to impress the selectors,” added Ban Cheng.