Lifeline for bowler Poh Lai


PETALING JAYA: A string of impressive performances lately could pave the way for bowler Choy Poh Lai to get into the team for the World Tenpin Team Cup in Denmark from Feb 16-24. 

On Sunday, Poh Lai beat the more experienced seniors, including Lai Kin Ngoh and Sarah Yap, to finish third in the National Championships behind Asian champion Shalin Zulkifli and Wendy Chai. She qualified for the women's Open Masters Finals in top spot with 943 pinfalls. 

Earlier in the week, the 22-year-old Poh Lai contributed all three gold medals for Johor in the inter-state meet. 

In her last outing for Johor in the youth division, Poh Lai came out tops in the singles, All-Events and partnered Sharon Chai to win the doubles event. 

Poh Lai reached the quarter-finals of the recent Asian Tour Grand Slam Finals in Singapore and was beaten by eventual winner Shalin. 

In the junior All-Stars Championships in December, Poh Lai was the top qualifier for the step-ladder finals but was beaten by Sharon. 

However, Poh Lai's consistent performance in the round robin competition puts her among the top candidates for places in the side for the World Team Cup. 

The World Team Cup is played over 90 games, using the Baker's format where each of the five members of a team bowls two frames in every game. 

And Poh Lai said that she was looking forward to earning her first international cap in the senior national squad. 

“I was forced to give the Asian Games a miss because I came down with chicken pox on the eve before the squad left for Busan,” she said. 

“I was very disappointed but I have put the sad episode behind me. I’m glad to have maintained my form into the new season. I am happy that I have maintained an average of 220 in competitions. 

“I hope to be make the squad for the World Team Cup as it would be my first senior assignment. I have represented the country in the World Youth Championships but did not win anything.” 

National coach Holloway Cheah does not exclude the fact that Poh Lai is among the juniors who stands a good chance of being selected for major assignments this year, including the World Team Cup. 

“She have been performing well since we first spotted her for promotion to the national team last year,” he said. “If Poh Lai maintains her form and mental composure, she can be among the best players in the country.” 

The squad for the World Team Cup will be named three days after the national players resume centralised training on Feb 5.  

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