PETALING JAYA: Zulmazran Zulkifli and Syafiq Ridhwan Abdul Malek will skip the Singapore SEA Games next month.
The Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) announced the 12-bowler squad for the Games on Tuesday and three-time Malaysian Open winner Zulmazran and former World Cup winner Syafiq are the notable absentees.
Zulmazran has been a mainstay with the team since the 2001 Kuala Lumpur Games while Syafiq has slowly found his form after finishing seventh at the mixed-field Brunswick Euro Challenge in March.
The duo, doubles bronze medallists at the 2011 Palembang Games, opted to pull out of the Singapore Games for health reasons.
“The doctor has advised him not to train until further tests. So, he asked to sit this one out ... nobody wants to miss the SEA Games, so I knew he was serious about it.”
The men’s side will feature Adrian Ang, Alex Liew, Rafiq Ismail, Timmy Tan, Ahmad Muaz Fishol and Johnathan Chan.
Holloway was quick to stress that the absence of Zulmazran and Syafiq would not weaken the team.
“There’s no No.1 in our team. Everyone is on par and doing well,” said Holloway.
“That’s why we’ve always had someone new come out and win because everyone is capable of it. This time, our men’s side is a good mix of youth and experience.”
There were no big surprises in the women’s team.
Shalin Zulkifli will again lead a formidable team comprising last year’s World Cup runner-up Sin Li Jane, Esther Cheah, Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman, Syaidatul Afifah Badrul Hamidi and Natasha Roslan.
It will be a homecoming of sorts for Shalin, who made her debut in the 1993 Singapore Games, where she won a silver and a bronze.
Holloway said: “Singapore have a world championship women’s team. We know they are strong and they know we are too.
“We know each other well enough over the years. Our team this time is quite balanced and strong and, most importantly, we have six capable bowlers ... Esther is back on form, so is Shalin.”
by Ashreena Pillai - The Star