KUALA LUMPUR: It was an emotional and rousing welcome for the Malaysian bowling contingent who arrived at KLIA today following their World Championships in Las Vegas.
All 12 bowlers (men's and women's) together with national coaches Holloway Cheah and Ben Heng, were greeted at the arrival hall by family members, Malaysia Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) staff, national youth bowlers as well as representatives from the National Sports Council.
The men's squad of Rafiq Ismail, Syafiq Ridhwan, Alex Liew, Timmy Tan and Adrian Ang were in the United States for nearly two months, as they were also involved in the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) World Series in Reno, Nevada.
Seasoned campaigner Shalin Zulkifl was the only Malaysian female to play alongside her male compatriots. She finished third in the World Bowling Tour (WBT) Finals.
Ahmad Muaz Fishol and Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman, who also played in the World Championships, were in Hermosillo, Mexico earlier for the World Cup, before reuniting with the rest of the team in Reno.
The other women bowlers Esther Cheah, Syaidatul Afifah Badrul Hamidi, Natasha Roslan and Sin Li Jane then flew in from Kuala Lumpur a week earlier, before the world meet.
Shalin, 39, was in tears, when her daughter Aleya Azidi ran to her with a handwritten sign, welcoming her mother who had helped Malaysia recapture the women's team gold, after a 10-year drought last Sunday.
Her husband and former national player, Azidi Ameran, was also among the crowd cheering on the squad.
"It's very emotional because I miss them (family) so much. We have been away for five weeks and it's really touching to see them here," said Shalin, who also bagged a silver in the women's doubles with Li Jane.
"Every time I bowl, I bowl for my family. I am also very thankful to have a husband who understands me. This World Championships has been nothing short of special for all of us. We managed to recapture the women's team title after 10 years."
The World Championships this year, has indeed been Malaysia's best so far, with one gold medal and three silver.
Apart from the women's team of five and women's doubles, the other medals came through Siti Safiyah in the women's all-events while Li Jane capped Malaysia's outing on the last day of competition with a silver in the women's Masters.