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Shalin is ready for showdown with Maxine Nable

Wednesday July 8, 2009

By RAJES PAUL

KUALA LUMPUR: The old rivalry between Shalin Zulkifli and Maxine Nable of Australia is expected to heat up in the women’s world championships, which will be held in Las Vegas from July 25-Aug 2.

Although they are good friends, Shalin and Maxine have been out to outdo each other in competitions since their days as juniors.

And the battle has now taken a new height with both trying to make a name for themselves as professional bowlers.

The 31-year-old Shalin said that she was looking forward to bowling alongside Maxine for the first time in the world championships as professionals.

“Some of the bowlers from my batch turned professional much earlier. With the decision to allow pros to compete in the world championships for the first time, it will be interesting to see how we fare,” said Shalin.

“Nable and I are good friends but I am looking forward to renewing our rivalry in the world championships.”

Shalin turned pro last year while Maxine has been in the business for almost 10 years.

Although a quiet battle between Shalin and Nable has been ongoing, the pinnacle of a showdown between Malaysia and Australia took place at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Then, Australia had banked on Nable and several other top guns, among them Cara Honeychurch and Ann Maree-Putney, to silence the Malaysian challenge.

This time, Australia will not have their Commonwealth Games star performer, Honeychurch, who won three gold medals, at the world championships but Shalin still has not ruled them out as main challengers.

Besides Nable and Maree-Putney, the others in the Australian team are Carol Gianotti, Bianca Flanagan, Kara Triulcio and Natalie Shelley.

Shalin said that Nable would not be the only one from her batch who would be out to impress at the world championships.

She has also rub shoulders with Stephanie Nations of the United States in her younger days.

“Maxine, Stephanie and I are bowlers from the same era. We know what we are capable of doing since our junior days. I foresee an exciting time ahead in the world championships,” said Shalin.

Besides Shalin, the others in the Malaysian team are Esther Cheah, Wendy Chai, Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman, Zandra Aziela Ibrahim Hakimi and Sharon Koh.

Except for debutant Siti, all the others were member of the team who won the gold medal in the previous championships in Mexico two years ago.

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