Trio deliver first gold for M’sia at Asian Games

(From left) Mei Lan Cheah, Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman and Syaidatul Afifah Badrul Hamidi celebrate after winning the women’s trio gold medal in Palembang. — Bernama photo

PALEMBANG: The national women’s bowling squad is now more confident of bagging the 2018 Asian Games team event gold, after triumphing in the trios event at the Jakabaring Bowling Center here yesterday.

The national trio of Esther Cheah, Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman, Syaidatul Afifah Badrul Hamidi ended Malaysia’s 24 -year gold drought in the trios after downing 4,326 pins.

They are now highly determined to bag that elusive team gold, despite the organisers introducing a new scoring system known as the Frame Scoring System and changed the event from team of five to team of six, to end the country’s 12-year gold drought in this event.

“We will go all out in the team event. Though before this we targeted one gold only, the team gold is very important because that is the event everyone is looking forward to,” the most senior member in the team, Esther, told reporters after the prize-giving ceremony.

“It was a very close fight today…We were just trying to keep the pace. I am so glad that when I bowled badly, they covered me, when someone else bowled bad, others covered, it is a very good trios actually.

The 32-year-old Esther was part of the team when Malaysia won silver in the 2006 Doha edition.

Sharon Koh, Wendy Chai, Zandra Aziela, Shalin Zulkifli and Choy Poh Lai are the other keglers in the women’s team in Indonesia.

Esther also hoped that yesterday’s gold feat would inspire other Malaysian athletes competing in this 18th Asian Games to produce their best performance in their hunt for medals.

“This is a surprise gold for everyone. We have started the ball rolling, we are sure more gold will come, this is not end for Malaysia,” she added.

Pan Yu Fen, Chou Chia Chen and Tsai Hsin Yi of Taiwan secured the silver with 4,255 pinfalls, followed by Singapore’s Yeo Ruo Qi Joey, Tan Daphne Shi Jing, Lim Bernice Hui Ying 4250.

Another Malaysian trio, Sin Li Jane, Natasha Mohamed Roslan and Shalin secured fourth place after downing 4,144 pins.

For record, the last time Malaysia won gold in the trios event was at the 1994 edition in Hiroshima while in 2002 in Busan and 2006 in Doha, the girls won silver.

Meanwhile, national head coach Holloway Cheah had demanded a better performance from his charges in the in the men’s trios today and women’s team event on Friday.

“We have been training and preparing very-very hard for this Games… Hopefully in the team event we will play better. Today it was very close, between one or two strikes only.

“For the men’s trio team, everybody knows the competition will be very tough and very open. Anyone who performs on that day will win. Almost six or seven countries are almost of the same standard,” he said. — Bernama

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