Faith in old hand Ben By Lim Teik Huat



    Republished courtesy of the Malaysia Star (Aug 17, 2006)

    2006MWCBenHeng.jpg Despite the lack of success in Open tournaments, Ben Heng's good qualities as an inspirational team leader won him a place in the side for the men's World Championships, which will be held in Busan from Aug 30-Sept 9.

    But there were no places in the six-man team for youngsters Adrian Ang and Mohd Noer Said, who were members of the gold medal-winning team at the just concluded Asian Championships in Jakarta.

    The other bowlers on whom national chief coach Holloway Cheah has put faith on to end a 28-year-old drought in the world championships are Alex Liew, Daniel Lim, Azidi Ameran, Zulmazran Zulkifli and Aaron Kong.

    Zulmazran and Aaron did not feature in the Asian Championships. They were given a break after a successful campaign in the World Youth Championships in Germany.

    The vastly experienced Ben has always been fielded as the anchor bowler for team events and he has often risen to the occasion in recent years.

    The Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) secretary, Sidney Tung, said that Ben provided the stabilising factor for the team in the outing in Jakarta.

    "He played well and helped to rally the team when the going got tough in the second block of the competition," said Sidney on arrival home with the team from Jakarta last night.

    "He was also the anchor when we won the World Team Cup three years ago. His performance has dropped over the last two years but he is coming up to a peak again.

    "As for Adrian and Mohd Noer, they need more time for exposure."

    The last time Malaysia bagged a gold in the men's World Championships was in 1979 in Manila through the trio of Khoo Boo Jin, Edward Lim and Allan Hooi.

    The Malaysian women have enjoyed more success and were among the medallists in the previous five championships.

    Holloway said that how the team fared in Busan would give a better indication of their chances in the Doha Asian Games from Dec 1-15.

    "With the exception of Qatar, the other men's teams in the Asian Championships were not at full strength," he said. "The Koreans did not sent their national team while Singapore had one or two of the top bowlers missing. I am sure we will see the full line-up in the world championships."

    Meanwhile, Holloway announced that Shalin Zulkifli would make a comeback to national team training on Monday.

    "Shalin has agreed to join the national elite team. She will also be with the team for the Hong Kong Open next month."

    2006ASCTeamChampionMenMAS.jpg THE MEDALLISTS: The Malaysian men's bowling team of (from left) Azidi Ameran, Daniel Lim, Ben Heng, Adrian Ang, Alex Liew and Mohd Noer Said showing off their medals after arriving at the KLIA in Sepang last night. Malaysia finished with a haul of 2-2-0 in the Asian Championships in Jakarta. – STARpic BY IBRAHIM MOHTAR

    In the Asian Championships, Malaysia finished with a haul of 2-2-0 and the men won all the medals.

    Besides the team gold, Azidi emerged as the All-Events champion – ending the men's 10-year gold drought. Azidi, Alex and Daniel give Malaysia their first medal, finishing second behind Qatar in the trios while Alex became the first Malaysian man to win a Masters medal.