Thursday, November 12, 2009

Early birds get head start in Melaka

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, India and host Malaysia were the first four countries to arrive in Melaka for the 45th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup which will be held at the Melaka International Bowling Centre (MIBC) starting on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia’s Ammar Tarrad arrived on Sunday, while Qatar’s Mubarak al Almuraikhi came direct from Vietnam after the Asian Indoor Games , India’s Dhruv Sarda and Ptathima Hedge and Malaysia’s Zulmazran Zulkifli and Siti Safiyah Amirah arrived on Monday.

Saudi Arabia’s Ammar Tarrad

Qatar's Mubarak al Almuraikhi

In fact, India have been in Malaysia for sometime now, for they have an arrangement with the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) to offer their assistance in training their bowlers. Their elite and junior squad have been coming for shorts stints in Malaysia from time to time.

India's Ptathima Hedge

Malaysian back-up squad coach Allan Chia will oversee the Indian pair for the Bowling World Cup.

All the bowlers have been practicing on the split-house 52 lanes at MIBC but not on the lane conditions that will be used for the championship.

Although the QubicaAMF technical staff have arrived on Saturday, they have not laid the oil pattern for the championship, as they have been busy sorting out several technical issues.

The oil pattern was finally laid out Tuesday night, but none of the bowlers was around to test it.

However, yesterday evening bowlers from all four countries had their first taste of the oil conditions.

National coach, Holloway Cheah after the session said that the actual conditions for the championship are only expected to be laid for the official practice sessions on Sunday.

"They laid the oil pattern today, but I believe this is not the actual pattern. They are also testing the oiling machines and I expect the real conditions to be laid on Sunday," said Holloway.

However, for the Bowling World Cup, conditions have normally been easy as the organisers what to see high scores and perfect games to make the sports exciting to the spectators.

Meanwhile, both Zulmazran and Siti said they were very comfortable with centre and although not bowling on the official oil pattern the last few days, they said they did not expect to see much change to make it any difficult on them.

“We are comfortable with the centre and lanes and looking forward to the championship,” said Zulmazran.

Siti, who had earlier felt that the centre was small because there is only 26 lanes on one side of the centre, said that she has familarised herself with the centre.

“It was just a matter of getting used to the centre since we have always been bowling in big centres which have more than 40 lanes across. I am settled and waiting for the start of the competition,” said Siti.

The organisers received a late change in entries from Korea early this week.

They have changed their original entry of Jin Seok Kong and Ryeong Heui Kim to Choi yong-Kyu and Baek Seung-ja.

Holloway said that he does not recognise both the names, but suspects that they are professional bowlers.

“Personally, I feel that the Korean national bowlers are better bowlers as compared to the professional bowlers because the Korean Bowling Congress (KBC) ensures that the best bowlers play for their nation,” said Holloway.

The bulk of the participants will be arriving today and Friday.

Friday and Saturday are the days for unofficial practice for bowlers before the official practice on Sunday. This will be followed by the Grand Opening Ceremony and Welcome Dinner at a hotel in the city.

The Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam, will official declare the championship open at the Opening Ceremony.

The championship proper starts on Monday with the women bowlers bowling the first eight games of 24 at 11am, while the men bowl their first eight games at 4pm.

92 countries are expected to compete from the original 96 who had confirmed.

Among the countries who will not be coming are Israel and Palestine, while Morocco, Turkey and Dominican Republic have not given their flight schedules after their confirmation of participation.

Bowling World Cup manager Anne-Marie Board said that she expects about 92 countries at least.

“From past experience we have had teams turning up at the last minute for the championship although they did not give us any confirmation of the arrival flight details,” said Board.

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