KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian women's bowling squad ended their 10-year wait for a gold medal when they came out tops in the team event at the World Championships in Las Vegas, the United States yesterday.
Much to the delight of head coach Holloway Cheah, the team led by seasoned campaigner Shalin Zulkifli, Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman, Syaidatul Afifah Badrul Hamidi, Sin Li Jane and Natasha Roslan saw off rivals Singapore in the final, 214-209, 188-177.
It was Malaysia's third medal in the competition, after winning silver in both the women's doubles (Shalin and Li Jane) and women's all-events (Siti Safiyah) last week.
The last time Malaysia won gold in the team of five event was in 2007 in Monterrey, Mexico and prior to that in 2003 in Kuala Lumpur.
In this year's competition, Malaysia qualified for the semi-finals in second place after amassing a total of 6,227 pinfalls, following two blocks of six games on Saturday.
It was followed by a nail-biting affair against Colombia in the last four stage, but the national team prevailed with an impressive 198-207, 248-168, 182-181 win in the Bakers format at the South Point Bowling Plaza.
Holloway, who had targeted for a medal in the team event, said: "We stayed focused and kept hitting our target. It was good, because our team's confidence was very high."
Malaysia last won a medal in this event in 2013 in Nevada when the team of Shalin, Siti Safiyah, Jacqueline Sijore, Esther Cheah, Li Jane and Zandra Aziela settled for the bronze.
Following the gold medal feat, Holloway is confident of another medal in the Masters event, that got underway today.
"Our target was to do well in the team event, and the girls delivered. I believe that we have a very good chance in the Masters event too."
Malaysia were represented by Shalin, Siti Safiyah and Li Jane in the women's Masters while Ahmad Muaz Fishol, who won bronze at the recent World Cup in Hermosillo, Mexico, competed in the men's event.