PETALING JAYA: It was business as usual for top national bowler Shalin Zulkifli when she led Selangor to a clean sweep of the women's singles medals in the 17th inter-state championships at Pyramid MegaLanes in Bandar Sunway here yesterday.
Daniel Lim later won the men's competition to give Selangor a perfect start to their quest to retain the overall title.
Shalin took time off from her preparations for her semester examinations next month to fulfil her duty for the state.
After having skipped the championships for the past three years, Shalin made a return in style by clinching the singles title with a total of 1,243.
Her national teammate Sarah Yap finished second with 1,196 pinfalls. National back-up squad's Zandra Aziela made a fine debut in the senior competition, taking the bronze with a total of 1,177. Another top national bowler, Wendy Chai, posted a 1,051 for 14th place.
For the 25-year-old Shalin, it was a perfect start to her quest to maintain her winning ways this year.
She secured the gold with lines of 207-190-192-234-218-199 and she was happy to deliver the first gold medal for Selangor.
“My overall score was not really that great. I think it was because the lanes were not oiled for high scoring. But it was just enough to win,” said Shalin.
“Although my university exams are coming up next month, I took part in the inter-state championships as I think it will be a good warm-up ahead of the Asian Tour's Grand Slam Finals (in Singapore Jan 15-18).”
Shalin, who is pursuing a Sports Science degree, will be defending her title in Singapore as the number one ranked bowler of the 2003 circuit.
“I hope to continue bowling well in the next two days.
“I will also take part in the national championships after that and I hope to finish to qualify among the top three for the Masters. Then I will look at a successful defence of my title,” she said.
However, her boyfriend, Azidi Ameran, failed to make it a sweet double.
Ameran, competing for Negri Sembilan, lost in the battle for the gold medal to Daniel, who scored a total of 1,279 to take the title.
The duo exchanged leads until Daniel pulled away in the last two games to claim the second gold medal for Selangor.
Daniel, who took the national title last year, won with lines of 225-209-198-209-257-181 while Ameran posted 236-223-221-184-222-173, which fell 20 pins short of the winning score.
Daniel is hoping that he has found the right form in time for the defence of his national title.
“I was unlucky to finish third in the Hong Kong Open and then fifth in the Hong Kong leg of the Asian Tour last month. I hope to do better in the national championships,” he said.
Sarawak's Peter Pu bagged the bronze medal with a total of 1,187 while national back-up squad's Aaron Kong of Penang finished fourth place – just one pin behind.
The other national bowlers, Nadri Mohd Noor finished eighth (1,174); Zulmazran Zulkifli was placed 11th (1,167); and Ben Heng ended up in 13th place (1,152).