PRAI: Malaysia retained the overall champions title in the Sixth Asian Schools Bowling Championships at the Megalanes Bowl here yesterday.
Another double victory in the boys' and girls' All-events not only equalled the record six gold medal haul achieved in Melbourne last year but also gave the national youth bowlers an unassailable lead in the medal tally.
Jonathan Lim joined teammate Nadri Mohd Noor with three gold medals each in the championships after adding the boys' All-events title to his doubles and team victories while Yazliza Razlan won in the girls' All-events.
Nadri made it a 3-1-0 haul for himself finishing in second place in the All-events while the Philippines' Jon Carlo Tupaz took the bronze.
Australia's Toni Woodcock had a combined score of 3,444 pins, 25 fewer than Yazliza to take second spot in the girls' category with Malaysian Sharon Koh finishing third on 3,373.
It was the second victory in as many days for Yazliza. She partnered Voon Kim Ling to win the doubles gold on Saturday.
She missed out on a chance to emulate her three-gold achievement in Melbourne after Malaysia A were pipped to the team gold by the Australian girls on Saturday.
However, Yazliza still has another shot at glory after being placed seventh at the end of the first block of the Masters finals yesterday.
National youth development coach Chris Batson was happy with the way his bowlers stamped their mark in the competitions.
“I said before the championship that I have full confidence in this squad's ability to become the overall champions again. And the bowlers did not let me down,” said Batson.
It was the third time that Malaysia have emerged as the overall champions. They won it for the first time when the championships were held in Johor Baru in 2000.
With just two more gold medals up for grabs in the Masters today, Malaysia have won six of eight events contested.
Besides Australia's victory in the girls' team event, the other gold medal went to Indonesia in the girls' singles.
Malaysia are in line to create history by making a 100% sweep in all the boys' events.
After the first block of eight games in the Masters yesterday, Penangites Aaron Kong and Eric Ang are in the lead. But they need to maintain their form today to qualify for the step-ladder finals.
Aaron was on a hot streak and knocked down 1,887 pins (average 235.88) with Eric a distant 194 pins adrift.
Eric has Australian Chris Slattery and Filipino Clark Tiu breathing down his neck with just 33 pins separating the three bowlers.
“Aaron is already comfortable with a huge advantage over the chasing pack but I have to be at my best tomorrow (today) to stay ahead of Chris and Clark,” said Eric.
“Barring a massive collapse in form by Aaron, it will be difficult to make up the deficit against him. So my game plan will be to maintain my consistency and concentrate on surviving the cut for the step-ladder finals.”
The Malaysian girls were left with a mountain to climb in the second block today.
Singles champion Sharon Adelina Limansantoso is the runaway leader with 1,759 pins followed by Australia's Jayde Flanagan on 1,605.
The only Malaysian among the top five is Esther Cheah, who is third – three pins behind Flanagan.