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Monday January 28, 2008

Lawn Bowl: Top of the world Malaysian


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia scored a first in the World Bowls Championships with national number one Safuan Said emerging as the men's singles champion in Christchurch yesterday. 

Safuan lived up to his billing as the world number one and defeated Aaron Sheriff of Australia 21-10 in the final. 

The Malaysian Lawn Bowls Federation (MLBF) secretary, Ramble Dallan Rice-Oxley, said that Safuan's efforts took Malaysia's final medal tally in the championships to one gold and four bronze medals for third place in the standings behind New Zealand and Australia. 

“Malaysia have never won a medal in previous World Bowls and the team this time was outstanding in creating history,” he said in a telephone interview from Christchurch yesterday. 

World’s best: Safuan Said lived up to top billing to beat Aaron Sheriff of Australia 21-10 in the men’s singles final in Christchurch yesterday.
At the last World Bowls in Scotland four years ago, Malaysia finished 13th in the men's standings and 12th in the women's competition. 

Safuan, whose form was suspect after managing to win only a bronze in the men's singles competition of the Korat SEA Games last month, was in top form in the World Bowls. 

He finished on top in Group A, winning nine games and losing one to advance to the knockout stage. His only defeat was by Ryan Bester and he turned the tables on the Canadian in the semi-finals on Saturday. 

Safuan, who stamped his mark on the world stage with a silver at the World Cup Indoor singles championships in Sydney in 2005, also picked up the bronze in the men's pairs event partnering Fairul Izwan Muin. 

The other bronze medallists in the championships were the men's triples side, Siti Zalina Ahmad in the women's singles and fours. 

Siti, a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, has also improved on her world rankings from third to second place behind Lorna Trigwell of South Africa. 

Malaysia participated in all disciplines in Christchurch – singles, pairs, triples and fours. The men's were placed third overall in the Leonard's Trophy standings while the women's also finished third in the Taylor Trophy standings.