25th August, Kuala Lumpur: Veteran national bowler, Shalin Zulkfili and Rafiq Ismail ended the 29th SEA Games Tenpin Bowling Championships campaign in style as both won their third gold medals in the Women's and Men's Masters event.
Shalin, who was seeded second after completing the earlier Masters preliminaries, beat top seed and Doubles gold medallist, Tannya Roumimper of Indonesia, in a ninth and tenth frame roll-off, 59-37 after both title contenders had tied at 225.
By winning the tie-breaker, the 39-year-old forced the Indonesian into the second match to decide the champion. Roumimper started off the title match with a strike in the first frame and a spare in the second. She then rolled five consecutive strikes to open up a 32-pin lead over Shalin.
The never-say-die attitude of Shalin was clearly evident after she fought back gallantly with three consecutive stikes to move two pins ahead after the ninth frame.
When her opponent ended with 222, Shalin spared her final frame and struck nine pins in her final throw to win by just a single pin. "It's been an 18-year wait to win the SEA Games Masters gold medal again," said the tearful and emotional Shalin, who last won the prestigious event back in the 1999 Brunei SEA Games.
"This is one of my best SEA Games campign winning three gold, one silver and one bronze medal. I've to thank my husband, Azidi, my team-mates and my country in believing in me all these years. I hope I've the energy to continue bowling."
The champion earned the right to challenge the Indonesian after she dispatched third-seed, Shayna Ng of Singapore 224-199 in the semi-final match.
Shalin trailed Singapore's Jazreel Tan by 20 pins in the first block of eight games in the morning and finished second to Roumimper in the second block to advance to the stepladder finals. Ng finished third while first block leader, Tan missed the cut by 18 pins to finish fourth.
Meanwhile, Malaysia successfully defended the Team title by winning their fifth gold medal of the competition. Esther Cheah, Sin Meanwhile, national sensation Rafiq Ismail lived up to his reputation by capturing his third gold medal of the games after he ousted Thailand's Yannaphon Larpapharat, 213-190 in just one match.
The Thai had beaten third-seed, Alex Liew of Malaysia, 246-209 in the semi-finals to prevent an all-Malaysian final. Rafiq had started his campaign winning his first gold medal in the Singles event on the opening day.
His second gold came in the Mixed Doubles event partnering Sin Li Jane. Yannaphon added a second silver medal to the first he won in the Trios event two days ago.
Liew, who won the Doubles gold medal with Syafiq Ridhwan added the bronze medal to his collection. Yannaphon had topped the first block of the earlier Masters preliminaries but Rafiq, who was third, leapfrog into top spot in the second block to advance to the stepladder finals as top seed.
Yannaphon settled for second while Liew finished third. A third Malaysian, Ahmad Muaz missed the cut by 8 pins to finish in fourth position.
Malaysia equalled their best-ever feat of seven gold medals in bowling achieved in Brunei in 1999 and Penang in 2001 with a medal haul of 7-4-3. Singapore came in second with 2-3-2, Indonesia third with 1-2-3 and Thailand 1-2-2. The next SEA Games will be held in Manila in 2019.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Kuala Lumpur.
Singapore, Malaysia shares glory
Double joy for Thailand and Malaysia
Third one-two for Malaysia
Indonesia bags first gold
Another one-two for Malaysia
Malaysia wins gold and silver, Indonesia bronze
Singapore gold, Malaysia silver and bronze
Seven countries set for glory