Malaysia’s hopes for last medal in lawn bowls come to an end

National men’s pairs lawn bowler Mohd Fairul Izwan Muin. — Bernama

National men’s pairs lawn bowler Mohd Fairul Izwan Muin. — Bernama

GLASGOW: Malaysia’s hopes of adding a third – and last – lawn bowls medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow ended with the dramatic collapse of Mohd Hizlee Abdul Rais’ game in the men’s singles competition.

National No. 1 Hizlee was looking good for a place in the last four as he led Sheriff by eight points at 15-7 at the 13th end at the Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre on Thursday.

The turning point, however, came at the 19th end when Hizlee’s game went to pieces and Sheriff, trailing 19-12, staged a remarkable fightback to collect nine consecutive points en route to winning 21-19.

It certainly has been a Games of misses for the Malaysian lawn bowlers.

They were set a two-gold target but all they could muster was two silvers – through the men’s pairs (Mohd Fairul Izwan Muin-Hizlee) and the women’s fours (Nor Hashimah Ismail-Nur Fidrah Nor-Emma Firyana Saroji-Azlina Arshad).

On Wednesday, the women’s triples team’s hopes of advancing to the semi-finals also went up in smoke when Azlina Arshad, Nur Fidrah Noh and Emma Firyana Saroji lost 24-6 to England in the quarter-finals.

In the women’s pairs, two-time singles champion Siti Zalina Ahmad and Nor Hashimah Ismail were bundled out in the preliminary rounds. The men’s fours team also failed to get past the group stage.

Despite failing to meet the target by a mile, team manager Syed Abidin Syed Zin still declared himself satisfied with the team’s overall performance.

“We had the men’s pairs and women’s fours in the finals but could only win two silvers. It is still better than the one silver and one bronze haul in New Delhi (2010),” explained Syed Abidin.

Malaysia have never failed to deliver a medal in lawn bowls since their debut at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Games when they managed a silver through Saedah Rahim in the women’s singles and two bronze medals (men’s pairs and women’s fours).

In the 2002 Games in Manchester, Siti Zalina ruled the greens by taking the women’s singles gold while the men’s pairs took the bronze.

Four years later, in Melbourne, Siti retained the gold while seasoned campaigner Norhashimah Ismail, Azlina Arshad and Nur Iryani Azmi clinched the women’s triples gold.

In the 2010 Games, Malaysia took the silver in the women’s pairs (Norhahshimah-Zuraini Khalid) while the bronze came from the men’s pairs (Khairul Annuar Abdul Kadir-Fairul Izwan Abdul Muin).