Shalin, Mun Yee eye more golden moments
SWIMMER Nurul Huda Abdullah is regarded as Malaysia’s most successful athlete in the Sea Games having won a record of 23 gold medals in three editions (1985, 1987 and 1989).
Bowler Shalin Zulkifli and diver Leong Mun Yee may never get to equal or surpass Nurul’s tally but they are among those who have been successful in the Sea Games.
The duo, who are senior members in the Malaysian contingent, want to add to their already impressive tallies in what could be their final outing in the biennial games.
Regarded as the nation’s greatest female bowler, Shalin made her Sea Games debut in the 1993 Singapore edition.
The 39-year-old has won 17 Sea Games titles with her biggest success recorded in the 1999 Brunei edition with five gold medals.
She opted out of the 2005 and 2011 editions while bowling was not held in 2003, 2009 and 2013.
As for Mun Yee, the four-time Olympian is one of the most decorated athletes in diving. The 33year-old made her Sea Games debut in Jakarta in 1997 as a 13year-old.
Mun Yee, however, did not win a title until the 2001 edition in Kuala Lumpur. Then, she made a clean sweep of all four gold medals. All in, she has won 15 Sea Games titles in 10 editions.
There could be a friendly duel between Shalin and Mun Yee over gold medals but the former will hold the advantage as she will be competing in all five events (singles, doubles, trio, masters and team) in women’s bowling.
National coach Yang Zhuliang will enter Mun Yee in two events – women’s 10m platform synchro and team events.
Shalin, who was on the verge of retiring due to a foot problem in 2015, is raring to make a lasting impression in her eighth Sea Games outing.
She leads the women’s squad comprising PWBA Tour champions Sin Li Jane and Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman along with Syaidatul Afifah Badrul Hamidi, Natasha Roslan and former world singles champion Esther Cheah.
A total of 11 gold medals will be on offer in bowling at Sunway Megalanes in Bandar Sunway on Aug 20-25.
“I am eager and raring for action in the upcoming edition. I can’t wait for competition to start.
“I hope to win a medal in every event I compete in, but of course the team event is our prime focus. Expectations are high for our bowling team in the Sea Games.
“We have adapted to the lanes and we hope to play at our true ability with Singapore being our main rival in the women’s competition,” said Shalin, who won four gold medals in the 2001 KL edition, where bowling was held in Penang.
Mun Yee, who was not selected for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, is currently in Guangzhou, China with 15 other members to prepare for the Sea Games. They will be back on Friday.
“This Sea Games will bring me good memories of what I had achieved in the 2001 KL edition, where I won four titles.
“Training is going well in Guangzhou and I am ready for the challenge of adding to my gold medal collection,” said Mun Yee.
The Sea Games diving competition is at National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil on Aug 26-30. Ajitpal Singh
Leong Mun Yee