PETALING JAYA: Shalin Zulkifli (pic) is mum over her future with the national bowling team as she has left it to the National Sports Council (NSC) and the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) to decide on her fate.
The 41-year-old, who made her competitive debut for the country at the 1993 SEA Games in Singapore, is still putting in the hours at the bowling alley in Sunway Megalanes but is unsure of what is coming up for the new year.
The mother of one said she does not know the plans for 2020 as MTBC have yet to meet the NSC to decide on the schedule and budget.
“Training is going on as usual, but I am not sure about my career. It depends on what the NSC decide, ” she said.
MTBC are hopeful of retaining their 23-member national team this year despite their failure to meet a four-gold medal target at the Philippines SEA Games last month.
The national team won two golds, three silvers and two bronze medals to finish third in the overall standings, in which Shalin won silver in the team of four.
It was the first time that the team handled by head coach Holloway Cheah failed to finish as the overall champions since the 2007 Korat Games in Thailand.
What is even more worrying is the fact that budget allocation for 2020 and for the rest of the years would be impacted as bowling did not make the 40-sport programme at the 2024 Hangzhou Asian Games.
Despite the uncertainty, Shalin and Co are executing positive energy in training.
“We train every day, which is more than most teams in Europe and North America, ” said Shalin.
“We are just working on our game and rectifying some of our weaknesses.”
As the most senior bowler in the team, Shalin is hopeful that the girls from the back-up team would be given more competitive exposures this year.
She hopes new faces will join the elite squad, which also include Esther Cheah, Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman, Sin Li Jane, Nerosha Keligit, Natasha Roslan and Syaidatul Afifah Badrul Hamidi.
Some of the girls in the back-up team are Nur Amirah Auni Azman, Radin Nur Najwa Arifah Radin Dzulfakar and Faten Najihah Ahmad Faik.
“Everyone is progressing well. I really hope the back-up bowlers will get more opportunities and will do well, ” she said.
“I’ve achieved almost all of my goals, only a few more missing but, generally, I’m thankful for all that I’ve achieved, ” added Shalin, who has yet to win a title in the Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) and the AMF World Cup.
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