Perfect roll as Malaysian lawn bowlers sweep 3 gold

Team head coach Zuraidi admits that his charges struggled in the earlier rounds due to the uneven and patchy grass pitch


NEW CLARK CITY • In the end, the badly surfaced grass pitch proved no great obstacle as the national lawn bowl squad at the 30th SEA Games produced a magnificent showing to sweep three of the four gold medals on offer yesterday.

The first gold was delivered by veteran player Siti Zalina Ahmad and her trio of youngsters – Afiqah Dayana Budiman, Nur Ain Nabilah Tarmizi and Syafiqah Haidar Afif Abdul Rahman, who trounced the host nation team 17-6 in the final played at the CDC Lot Friendship Gate.

Seasoned players, Emma Firyana Saroji and Nurul Alyani Jamil then clinched Malaysia’s second gold by defeating their opponents from Brunei 21-14 in the women’s pairs.

The men’s trio of Izzat Shameer Dzulkeple, Mohamed Fairus Abd Jabal and Mohammad Syamil Syazwan Ramli confirmed Malaysia’s hat-trick of gold medals with a 14-8 win over the home nation team in the men’s triples category.

But the gold medals did not come without initial fears for the Malaysian camp as they had been some concerns about the state of the grass pitch at the CDC Lot Friendship Gate venue.

Team head coach Zuraidi Puteh admitted that his charges struggled in the earlier rounds due to the uneven and patchy grass pitch before finding their rhythm to finish off the job magnificently.

The team have set their sights on finishing their campaign on Thursday by securing the two remaining gold on offer, he said.

Siti Zalina, who is taking home her third SEA Games gold medal after the ones won in 1997 in Brunei and on home soil two years ago, shared the same views on the pitch conditions.

The 41-year-old veteran lawn bowler, featuring in her sixth games, said besides the uneven surface, the players had to contend with a dusty ground as well due to the patchy state of the pitch.

“In the end,it was all left to us as to how to deal and overcome the shortcomings. It was not easy but we worked as team and that got us over the finish line,” she said.