Locals Retain 35th Canon Malaysian Open Masters Titles

Courtesy of The Star Sports

PETALING JAYA: National bowlers Zulmazran Zulkifli and Zandra Aziela Ibrahim Hakimi shed tears of joy after emerging as the king and queen of the alley in the Canon Malaysian Open at Sunway Mega Lanes.

And immediately after their sensational wins yesterday, they dedicated their victories to their mothers – Maznah Ahmad and Zauyah Ahmad respectively.

It was also Zulmazran and Zandra’s third home titles.

Zulmazran Zulkifli giving his mother Maznah Ahmad a kiss after winning the Canon Malaysia Open Masters bowling title at the Sunway Mega Lanes yesterday. It was Zulmazran’s third home title and he dedicated the win to his mother who has been a pillar of strength in his career.

Zulmazran was in devastating form to beat top seed Mark Wong of Singapore 228-188, 269-222 in the sudden death playoff of the stepladder finals.

He made it to the final after coming through a tie-breaker in the second round of the stepladder finals but in the decider, Zulmazran remained steady and composed to show he was back in the reckoning.

“This is my first title since my gold medal feat at the 2011 Commonwealth Champion-ships (in January last year) but a more memorable one. I had been struggling after the wrist injury. I had changed my style of play and today, my perseverance and patience paid off,” said Zulmazran.

“All I want to do is to prove to myself that I can win again despite changing the way I bowl and it feels great that I managed to pull it off. It has brought back the confidence in me.”

The 28-year-old Zulmazran was happy that the win came at the right time when the world will be celebrating Mother’s Day today.

“My father passed away in 2001 and since then, my mother has been a pillar of strength for me.

Double delight: National bowlers Zulmazran Zulkifli (right) and Zandra Aziela posing with their trophies after winning the Canon Malaysian Open Masters titles yesterday.

“To her, I am always a champion, even when I am going through a slump. I always win it for her and today, it is even more special,” said Zulmazran, who will head for the EuroMed tournament in the Philippines next week.

Zandra’s pep talk with her mother turned things around as she showed great character to beat Shayna Ng of Singapore 211-209 in a nail-biting final.

She was in seventh position going into the final game in the Masters qualifying round but a splendid game of 299 saw her storming into the stepladder finals as the top seed.

“I was in danger of missing the cut. My mother encouraged me and challenged me to score a perfect game in the final game. She said that would be a great mother’s day gift.

“I managed 299. It got me into the elimination round and I went on to win. I’m thrilled,” beamed Zandra.

Yesterday’s win also saw Zandra becoming the first Malaysian woman bowler to win back-to-back home titles.

“I won the Malaysian Open in 2007 but failed to defend it after losing to Singapore’s Jazreel Tan in 2008. I did not want to go through a similar disappointment against another Singaporean,” added Zandra, who shed tears of joy yesterday.

The win also underlined Zandra’s status as the top ranked female bowler in the country.

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