PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) have not set any medal target for the World Championships. But there seemed to be high expectations if the efforts put in to conduct the official lane draw here yesterday was anything to go by.
The draw to determine the lanes for the bowlers was turned into a grand affair with Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein officiating the event and it was witnessed by several representatives of the foreign embassies in the country.
For the first time, the lane draw, which usually takes four hours, was completed in 30 minutes – albeit a minor glitch.
And based on the enthusiasm and the excitement, Malaysia may win it big time when they host the championships for the first time at the Pyramid MegaLanes in Bandar Sunway from Sept 9-20.
A total of 67 countries will take part, a record number of entries since the inception of the tournament in 1952.
Malaysia last won a gold medal in the championships, which are held every four years, through the men's trios in 1979. At the last meet in Abu Dhabi, Malaysia won two silver medals through Shalin Zulkilfi.
The MTBC president, Datuk P.S. Nathan, said that they chose not to put pressure on the bowlers by setting targets but he expected them to do well.
“We hope and pray that our bowlers will give their best. They have trained very hard. We hope they will be out to win medals, gold preferably,” said Nathan.
“I have noticed that our bowlers are calm and collected in training. The opponents will not intimidate them easily and this factor will take them far in the tournament. They are looking confident and I am certain they will do well.”
Hishammuddin was impressed and also had praises for the bowlers.
“This is a historic event (the official lane draw). I am not only happy that this is held for the first time in such a grand fashion but I also believe that this occasion befits our bowlers, who are world class,” said Hishammuddin.
“The future is very bright in bowling and I hope our bowlers will keep the momentum going in the World Championships, especially on home soil.”
The MTBC, however, did not announce the final squad of six men and six women. They will finalise it next week.
The men in training are Azidi Ameran, Ben Heng, Daniel Lim, Alex Liew, Zulmazran Zulkilfi, Jonathan Lim and Mohd Nadri Mohd Noor.
The women are Shalin Zulkilfi, Lai Kin Ngoh, Wendy Chai, Sarah Yap, Choy Poh Lai, Sharon Chai and Zandra Aziela.