Top Malaysian bowler puts up a gallant performance to claim Emir Cup


BY RAJES PAUL

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s top woman bowler Shalin Zulkifli has beaten the men again – this time to win the H.H. Emir Cup in Doha on Sunday. 

In the stepladder final between the top ranked Asian woman and top ranked Asian man, the 27-year-old Shalin came out tops against Qatari Ahmed Shaheen. 

Shalin put up a fighting display to beat the 1999 World Cup champion and World Championships gold medallist 203-232, 232-199, 206-192 to pocket 50,000 Qatar riyals (RM52,000). 

Malaysia's Shalin Zulkifli receiving the H.H. Emir Cup from Salman Abdullah Abdul Ghani, the president of the Qatar Bowling Federation, Monday.

And Shalin certainly had the last laugh in claiming the title. 

“I was the only woman who made the 12-bowler cut for the Finals and they said I was lucky. I qualified for the stepladder Finals in fifth place and they again said that I was lucky,” said Shalin in a telephone interview from Doha yesterday. 

“Now that I have won it, they are all silent. It is not easy to beat the men without any handicap. And this is certainly another great moment for me.” 

It was Shalin’s third win over the men bowlers in international competitions. 

Her first sensational win was in 2001 – beating Bowler of the Year and former world champion Tore Torgersen of Norway in the World Tenpin Masters to claim the first prize of US$30,000 (RM114,000). 

And in the 2003 ESPN Champion’s Challenge Trophy, a match between the men's and women's champions of the Asian Tour Grand Finals, Shalin defeated Purvis Granger of the Philippines to bag US$1,000 (RM3,800). 

Shalin, however, was not always the winner against the men. 

“I lost in my two other outings in the World Tenpin Masters (2002 and 2003). I also finished second twice – at the Pahang Open (to Lai Chuen Lian in 2001) and Santa Claus tournament in Singapore (to Mohd Nadri Mohd Noor),” she said. 

“It always feels good to get the better of the men.” 

En route to beating the 37-year-old Shaheen to the Emir Cup, Shalin ousted World Ranking Masters champion Remy Ong of Singapore 2-1 and fellow Malaysian Alex Liew 2-1. 

“Prior to this tournament, I did well at the Commonwealth Championships (winning three gold medals in Cyprus the week before),” she said. 

“I am glad that I maintained that form here. I also made the right adjustments and got lucky in the few matches against Shaheen, Remy and Alex,” she said. 

Shalin, who will return home today, will take a short break before she resumes her duty to win honours for the country in the Malaysian Open at the Pyramid Megalanes here from March 14-25. 

“I am sitting for my final examinations on March 15 and 16. I had a slow start this year but I am picking up pace.  

“I hope to achieve more good results for the country,” said the sports science student who will graduate from Universiti Malaya this year. 

Her “slow start” this year was a semi-final outing in the Asian Bowling Federation (ABF) Grand Finals in Jakarta in January.  

A week later, she emerged as the national champion for the fifth time.  

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