PETALING JAYA: Just count on bowler Esther Cheah (pic) when it comes to major tournaments and she will not disappoint.
The 32-year-old holds the distinction of being in every Malaysian side that won the team event since 2005 – twice at the World Championships (Monterrey, Mexico 2007 and Las Vegas 2017); Asian Games once (Doha 2006); and SEA Games four times (Manila 2005, Korat 2007, Singapore 2015 and Kuala Lumpur 2017).
And Esther has a chance to keep her fine record going by helping Malaysia to reclaim the Asiad team gold in Indonesia from Aug 18-Sept 2.
Esther will be hoping to make it three on the trot with teammates Sin Li Jane, Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman, Syaidatul Afifah Badrul Hamidi and Natasha Roslan following their triumphs at last year’s SEA Games and World Championships.
“I believe the girls and I have the ability to win at the Asian Games. We’ve done it before and I believe we can do it again,” said a pumped up Esther.
Esther is expecting stiff competition from South Korea and Singapore as the two arch-rivals will be out to beat Malaysia.
“I think there’s quite a high expectation for the women team going into the Asian Games as we’re the reigning world champions in the team event but we’re not going to let the expectations and pressure get to us,” said Esther.
“We’re going to work as a team through all the events and hope our hard work throughout the year will pay off.”
Esther will be aiming to roll back the years in Indonesia just like how she took the 2006 Doha Games by storm by clinching two golds in singles, team and three silvers in trios, all-Events and Masters.
Since her debut in Doha, Esther could only add a team bronze at the 2010 Guangzhou Games.
“My performance in Doha was definitely the best achievement in my career. I will rank it above the World Championship titles,” said Esther.
“Winning at a multisport Games is just a different feeling altogether!”
Esther, however, will not have the luxury of playing in so many events as the host had reduced the gold medals contested from 12 to six this time.
Only the trios, team of six and Masters events for men and women are held.
At the Incheon Games four years ago, Malaysia failed to win a gold for the first time since the Bangkok Games in 1998 after returning with a haul of four silver medals.