Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bowling is reliable source of gold for M'sia at Asiad

PETALING JAYA: Bowling has been a constant supplier of gold medals for the Malaysian contingent in the Asian Games.
As such, expect more of the same when the Games roll off in Guangzhou next month.
In the 2006 Doha Games, Esther Cheah sparked off wild celebrations when she bagged the first gold medal for Malaysia in bowling by nailing the singles title – the first event of the competition.
The bowlers went on to win three gold medals – the others coming from the women’s team and the men’s trios. They also won three silver medals – women’s trios, all-events and Masters.
Lend me your ears: National bowling chief coach Holloway Cheah (centre) giving instructions to his charges during the Asian Games squad’s training session at the KL Megalanes at Endah Parade yesterday. — SHAARI CHEMAT / The Star
But national chief coach Holloway Cheah is fully aware that past results mean nothing.
“Yes, we were successful in Doha but no bowler or country can guarantee the results they will get in bowling,” he said.
“It all boils down to the competition day. We have prepared hard for the competition and, hopefully, everything will go our way in Guangzhou.”
Holloway said his charges had gone through a gruelling training regime since early this month to prepare for the Asiad.
“Their day begins at 7.30am with physical exercise. Then, they will go down to the bowling alley for practice,” he said.
“They will take a break at 1.30pm before returning to the lanes at 3pm for another three hours of training.”
Hollloway said they were preparing for every possible problem that they might face in Guangzhou, especially the lane conditions.
“We will leave no stones unturned. We are preparing for all possibilities,” said Holloway, who picked South Korea, Japan, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Thailand as the teams to watch out for.
“But, of course, we can only prepare for any eventualities because it will all depend on the competition day.”
While Holloway seem concerned that four of the 12 bowlers bound for Guangzhou would be making their Asiad debut, team manager Cheah Ban Cheng was more upbeat.
Ban Cheng said that the four – Adrian Ang, Mohd Syafiq Ridhwan, Muhd Nur Aiman and Sin Li Jane – “have enough international experience under their belt to whip up a good result in Guangzhou”.
“They may be making their Asian Games debut but, in terms of big international championships, they have all experienced it before,” he said.
“The men’s team, especially, have made good progress, particularly after American ball specialist Rick Benoit came on board a couple of months ago.”
Benoit, a ball specialist hired by the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Association (MTBC), is in charge of enhancing the bowlers’ understanding of the ball reaction to the different lane conditions.
“The men’s team have been progressing very well since Rick came in. The women, meanwhile, are already well prepared,” said Ban Cheng.
“As for our target, we can’t afford to set a modest one as we have been medal contributors for the past few Asiads. But it’s not right to set a high target either.
“So, maybe two or three gold medals in the bag should be good ... but if we can get more, that’ll be even better!”

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