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Competing to bowl over the world again

One hunts in pairs, the other in singles! One is the senior-most member of the Malaysian team, the other most decorated. Nor Hashimah, the 39-year-old lawn bowls player, won gold in Melbourne in the pairs, while Siti Zalina, though beginning her career a little later, has won two consecutive gold in women’s singles.

india Updated: Oct 03, 2010 23:42 IST
Indraneel Das

One hunts in pairs, the other in singles! One is the senior-most member of the Malaysian team, the other most decorated. Nor Hashimah, the 39-year-old lawn bowls player, won gold in Melbourne in the pairs, while Siti Zalina, though beginning her career a little later, has won two consecutive gold in women’s singles. The two, when not playing the game, are government officials.

They were the first batch of athletes who entered the Games Village when the clean-up work was going on. But the two don’t complain and says, “Things have become so much better now.”

In New Delhi, they have set their sights on the yellow metal, and anything less than four gold in six events, they feel will not justify their domination in the world of lawn bowls.

“I am hoping to win my third gold here,” says a confident Siti after finishing a rigorous session of practice. If someone thought lawn bowls did not need fitness, Siti on the contrary says, all players have to be fit to stand for 6-7 hours a day, if they nurture any hope of getting a medal.

“That’s not easy,” says Siti, who switched to lawn bowls from netball while in school. “We have to bend and bowl as well. We work on stamina as well as endurance, though not that rigorously. But one has to be fit.” Siti, who started to play the sport in 1995, won her first gold in Manchester. Since then she has been dominating the singles in women’s category.

Nor Hashima, the senior most member of the team, is more of a mentor to the lawn bowl players. Since participating in the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in 1998, she has been a regular member of the squad.