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.
Sunday, October 9, 1994
Shalin a hit at 16 (The Malay Mail)
Reporting from Hiroshima, Japan (Asian Games)