PETALING JAYA: There will be a glimpse of what is in store in the 15th World Championships when the bowlers get into action in official practices at the Pyramid Mega Lanes in Bandar Sunway here today.
But national bowlers Sarah Yap and Lai Kin Ngoh will not be too worried about their rivals. They fear their own shadows in the chase for honours on home ground.
I can't help but feel a little nervous, admitted Sarah yesterday.
The biggest tournament is about to start and there is high expectation on us. But if you block all kind of thoughts and stay focused, half of the battle is already won. I must not let the nerves get the better of me when I am bowling.
The 30-year-old Sarah will be making her third appearance in the World Championships. In the last championships in Abu Dhabi four years ago, she bagged a silver in the doubles, partnering Shalin Zulkifli.
Kin Ngoh echoed Sarah's sentiments.
I am excited but nervous too. I have bowled in front of the home crowd before and I enjoyed it. Everyone has high hopes on you. You have to stay relaxed, she said.
The Penangite, who will be featuring in her second World Championships, won a bronze medal in the singles in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games. And in the last SEA Games in 2001, she also did not disappoint the home crowd, winning the Masters gold medal.
Hopefully, we will have a good practice session tomorrow (today). It is an important session for us to try out our bowling equipment and familiarise with the lane conditions, said Kin Ngoh, who hopes to chalk up an average of 220 pins in all the events.
Having emerged as the women's and men's champions in the World Tenpin Team Cup in February, all eyes will be on the Malaysian bowlers when they take to the lanes today.
Besides Sarah and Kin Ngoh, the other members of the womens team are Shalin, Wendy Chai, Choy Poh Lai, Sharon Chai. The men's team comprise Ben Heng, Alex Liew, Daniel Lim, Azidi Ameran, Zulmazran Zulkilfi and Jonathan Lim.
The other Asian bowlers who will come under scrutiny from their rivals are Singapore's Jesmine Ho, Jennifer Tan and Remy Ong.
The players from the Philippines to watch are Liza Del Rosario, Cecilia Yap, Paulo Valdez and Chester King.
South Koreans Kim Soo-kyung, Cha Mi-jung and Kim Jae-hoon, who have been missing from several international tournaments, will also get some attention.
The fancied European men in the fray are Finlands World Cup champion Mika Luoto; Norway's Tore Torgersen; Belgium's Gery Verbruggen, who is the top ranked European bowler; and England's Paul Moor.
Also rated among the front-runners are American Tim Mack and Qatar's Ahmed Shaheen.
And among the other top women to watch are Australians Amanda Bradley and Ann-Maree Putney; Colombian Clara Guerrero; England's Donna Adams; Germany's Bertina Beckel; and American Diandra Hyman.
Competitions start tomorrow with the men's singles followed by the women's singles, which begin on Friday.