Shalin and Muaz still in the mix for glory in Masters final roll-off


  • Bowling
  • Sunday, 08 Dec 2019

NATIONAL bowler Shalin Zulkifli will head into the last day of her final SEA Games – with one determination – to turn her miserable outing in the Philippines into a memorable one.

And the 41-year-old has presented herself with a good chance to do so after muscling her way to the women’s top-three stepladder finals of the Masters event at the Conorado Lanes Starmall in Mandaluyong.

She rolled down an eight-game total of 1,711 pinfalls to be placed third after the opening block of eight games yesterday.

Singapore’s Shayna Ng was in a class of her own as she topped the 16-woman standings with 1,868 pinfalls, opening up a 97-pin lead over second-placed compatriot Cherie Tan.Sin Li Jane was Malaysia’s next-best finisher in fourth spot with a 1,702 total, just nine pins off the top three cut.

Shalin had entered the tournament with a mission to surpass swimmer Nurul Huda Abdullah’s all-time best record of 22 gold medals but she has only a team silver to show in the Philippines Games so far.

Shalin has won 20 SEA Games golds since her debut at the 1993 Singapore Games.

The iron lady of bowling said she is determined to end her ninth and last SEA Games by defending her women’s Masters gold.

“This is surely my last SEA Games,” said Shalin.

“I don’t see bowling making the programme in the next two editions in Vietnam in 2021 and Cambodia 2023.

“Even if I do stay on with the national team, I don’t think I’ll compete beyond 2025!”

“So, I’m going to cherish tomorrow (Today) a lot. I’m happy that I bowled well enough to give myself a chance to qualify for the stepladder finals, but I’m not going to think too much about getting that one last gold.

“If it’s meant to be, it will be.”

The national bowling team’s hopes of hitting the four-gold target have also been boosted by Ahmad Muaz Fishol’s outstanding performance in the men’s contest.

Muaz registered a 1,796 total for second spot, just 17 pins behind pace-setter Billy Muhammad Islam of Indonesia. Mohd Jaris Goh of Singapore made up the top three on 1,752 pinfalls.

“I must thank coach Holloway (Cheah) for an improved performance today. The few touch-ups he made on my bowling balls had worked wonders,” said Muaz.

“I’ve not won an individual gold, let alone a medal at the Games. It will be nice to get one.”

Rafiq Ismail will have to raise his game if he is to defend his Masters title. He scored 1,621 total to be placed eighth and trails the top three cut by 131 pins.

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