Ben Heng bows out on high note By Rajes Paul

    12/23/06

    Malaysia

    Republished courtesy of The Malaysian Star (Dec. 23, 2006)

    2006MWCBenHeng.jpg Ben Heng scorched the lanes with his best-ever achievements this year. And yesterday, he decided bow out at the top of his game – ending a 10-year bowling career with the national men's team.

    The 32-year-old bowler now wants to venture into coaching the youngsters.

    Ben, the strongman of the national team who had on many occasions steered them to victory, is the second senior bowler to end his career on a high note.

    Azidi Ameran announced his decision before the Asian Games earlier this month.

    "I have been bowling for the country for a long time now," said Ben. "It is best to quit at the highest point of my career.

    "There have been ups and downs over the last 10 years but this year was certainly the best for me."

    After two year in doldrums, Ben made a fantastic revival and played a crucial role to help Malaysia win the team gold for the first time in the Asian Championships in Jakarta in August.

    Together with Azidi, Alex Liew, Daniel Lim, Zulmazran Zulkifli and Aaron Kong, Ben won the team silver medal at the World Championships in South Korea in September. The icing on the cake was winning the trios gold medal together with Daniel and Aaron in the recent Asian Games in Doha.

    "The Asiad gold will be my most treasured victory. My other memorable outing was winning the Team World Cup in Denmark in 2002.

    "It was the first big win for the men's team from my batch of bowlers. We were so united," he said.

    Ben, who has been a consistent medal winner in the SEA Games, said that another reason for his decision to quit now was the preparedness of the youngsters to step in.

    "I feel good leaving the squad now because I know there is a youngster to step into my shoe. Currently, there are so many of them," he said.

    Ben paid tribute to the many people who had supported him as a bowler.

    "I want to thank the coaches, the MTBC (Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress) and the NSC (National Sports Council).

    "But most of all, I want to take my hats off to all my teammates – both men and women. They have been by my side through thick and thin," he said.

    Ben Heng's hopes to keep his passion for the sport alive by coaching.

    "I have informed the MTBC of my interest to become a coach.

    "I want to guide the youngsters and make winners out of them," said Ben, who took up bowling in 1992.


    FACT FILE


    Age: 32
    Date of birth: July 25, 1974
    State: Selangor

    Achievements
    1997: Jakarta SEA Games gold medallist
    1998: Commonwealth Games doubles gold medallist
    2000: PBAP Philippines Classic champion
    2001: KL SEA Games gold medallist; Hong Kong Open champion; 10th in AMF World Cup
    2002: Asian Championships doubles and team silver; World Tenpin Team Cup winner
    2005: Manila SEA Games trios and team gold
    2006: Asian Championships team winner; World Championships team silver; Asian Games trios gold medallist