Monday, October 17, 1994

Spare Shalin the pain (The Malay Mail)

MALAYSIAN sports is better known for controversies, squabbles and
bickering rather than achievements.
And when something fruitful does come along, it is only a matter of time
before we allow the achievement get the better of us. Or worse, to fade
away just as quickly.
There's already a storm brewing in bowling. And that's unfortunate
because bowlers have always allowed results to speak for them.
They were the top contributors in the Asian Games in Hiroshima, having
won two golds, a silver and two bronze medals, And in the process broke
six Asian Games records - women's doubles (two pairs), womens trios (two
teams), women five players and men's All-Events.
But all that has been spoilt by the controvery surrounding youngster
Shalin Zulkilfi, who won golds in the All-Events and women's trio.
In all started when Shalin's parents misconstrued coach Sid Allen's
statements. Allen never claimed credit for Shalin's victory here.
All he had said was that he was glad Shalins parents have left her to
bowl on her own.
Allen said then: "Shalin is a natural. She needs little coaching and
should be allowed to be independent. She will seek advice when she needs
"Even when she turns to me, I merely correct her flaws, if any. In the
end, she makes her own decision."
Shalin's talent should be encouraged. She doesn't deserve this mental
Shalin's parents role has been signifiant. Nobody can deny them that
credit. But there also comes a time when parents should hand over the
reins to the professionals.
A case in point is swimmer Nurul Huda Abdullah, who faded away before
she realised her full potential. Her mother's influence was just too
The athlete should not become a victim of cirumstances. The youngster
should not be a pawn in a game that adults want to play.
Shalin is a potential world champion but if the pettiness is not nipped
in the bud, she will never make it there.
Allen has been good for Malaysian bowling. With the parent's dedication,
Shalin's own talent and Allen's expertise, the world will be world beckons
Under Allen, the bowlers have improved technically, physically and
mentally. Not many of Malaysia's other athletes can boast about such
complete preparation.
Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) have done well under Dr P.S.
Nathan's leadership. The administration is stable, have a good development
programme and there's continuity in coaching.
Allen has been in the country for four years and MTBC have a nine-year
programme to ensure Malaysia is among the top bowling nations.
MTBC have certainly done better than their local counterparts.
Let's bury the hatchet and work with the interest of sport and nation at

Sunday, October 9, 1994

Shalin a hit at 16 (The Malay Mail)

Reporting from Hiroshima, Japan (Asian Games)
YOUNG bowler Shalin Zulkifli has put herself in line to become the darling
of the Malaysian contingent and a world champion in the near future with
her alley-blazing efforts in Hiroshima.
The 16-year-old student from Sekolah Menengah Bandaraya in Kuala Lumpur,
after failing to win medals in two earlier events, the singles and
doubles, more than made up for that when she bagged the gold in the
women's trios partnering Lydia Kwah and Shirley Chow yesterday.
After another fine performance, the Form Four student stayed in line for
another medal, probably a silver, in the All-Events where she trails South
Korean leader Kim Sook Young by 212 pins.
She will also qualify for the Masters.
In fact, she narrowly missed the singles bronze, finishing just five
pins behind the winner of that medal, Singapore's Grace Young.
In the doubles, Shalin did well again but was unlucky that partner Lisa
Kwan was sick and did not bowl to expectations.
Shalin is very much focused on the job at hand. "I am doing fine but I
could do better," she said. "I am just giving my best and competing with
no pressure at all.
"It is great to be doing well and I hope I will continue to bowl the way
I have been doing the last few days, if not better."
Shalin gave the bowling team a scare on the opening day when she fainted
at the opening ceremony and also had a cut on her thumb.
But she has shown tremendous determination and mental strength to rise
to the occasion.
She is so cool despite getting all the attention at the bowling centre.
A product of the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) development
programme, Shalin is certainly heading for bigger things.
"She is a world class bowler," said national coach Sid Allen.
"I have been in bowling for 31 years and never have I seen a 16-year-old
bowl so well. She is an exceptional talent who can become a world
However, Allen voiced one reservation: that Shalin is allowed to
progress at her own pace.
"I just hope that Shalin does not become another Nurul Huda Abdullah.
The swimmer had tremendous potential, but she got lost along the way.
"Shalin is a bowler who does well on her own. She will ask for guidance
or help when she needs it. That is why I leave her alone to a great extent
and only guide her when she turns to me.
"I do not see her fumbling here unless there is some drastic change in
form. She is hitting the head pin very well and gets it nine out of ten
times. With such accuracy she cannot go wrong."
It has been a great year for Shalin. Since making her international
debut at the Singapore Sea Games where she won two gold (trios and fives)
and two silver (Masters and doubles) medals, she won the singles bronze at
World Youth Championships in Mexico this August, then a gold (singles) and
silver (All-Events) at the Asian FIQ, and then the gold at the prestigious
Malaysia Airlines International All-Stars in Kuala Lumpur - the first time
in 14 years that a Malaysian had won in a highly competitive event
featuring world class bowlers.
And her winning streak continues here in Hiroshima.