National bowler Sin Li Jane, who finished second in the Malaysian Open in 2012, is aiming to go one better in this year's tournament which starts on Friday. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: National bowler Sin Li Jane turns 22 on Wednesday, but there will not be a big celebration for now.
She’s hoping to have a bigger celebration after winning her first Malaysian Open title at the Sunway Mega Lanes next month.
Li Jane has maintained her ranking as the country’s No. 1 bowler for almost two years and is hoping to live up to her growing reputation at the home international tournament from May 2-10.
She came close to nicking it in 2012 but had to settle for second, after losing to former international Zandra Aziela Ibrahim Hakimi.
The Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) announced the line-up for the prestigious annual tournament on Tuesday. Despite the absence of some top European bowlers, the competition will not be lacking quality.
The best from Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, China, India and Malaysia will be using the tournament as a good warm-up ahead of the Asian Games in Incheon in September.
Besides team-mates Shalin Zulkifli and Esther Cheah, birthday girl Li Jane will have to be wary of defending champion Shayna Ng of Singapore, Philippines’ Lisa Del Rosario and Indonesian Sharon Limansantoso.
“Winning the Malaysian Open would be the best present for my 22nd birthday. I am more motivated to come good this time,” said Li Jane, who recently won her third national title.
“Besides the Malaysian Open, I will also be defending my Singapore Open title next month. All these Open tournaments are important for me as they help me get ready for the Asiad.
“I was in the Asiad team four years ago but I lacked the experience then. This time, I will be out to challenge for an individual medal. I’m also hoping that the women will nick the team title,” added Li Jane, who won a bronze medal in the team event at the Guangzhou Asiad in 2010.
The field will be equally challenging in the men’s competition with the confirmation of several stars like England’s Dominic Barrett, Australia’s Sam Cooley and Andrew Frawley, and South Korean professional Jeong Tae-hwa.
The men and women champions will get RM40,000 and RM15,000 respectively.
National chief coach Holloway Cheah expressed faith in his team, saying that based on current form, Zulmazran Zuliklfi (2012 champion) and newcomer Timmy Tan could be the frontrunners for the men’s title, while Li Jane, Esther and Shalin are also looking good for the women’s title.
“However, in the Malaysian squad, anyone – be it from the elite or the back-up squads – is capable of rising to the occasion,” he said.
Syimir Abdul Razak was a back-up bowler last year when he won the men’s title. He has since been promoted to the elite squad.