25 years ago, as a 16-year-old girl from Malaysia, Shalin Zulkifli stole the limelight in Guam as she shocked her much more experienced senior international bowlers to win a gold medal in her first Asian Tenpin Bowling Championship appearance.
Now at the age of 41, she has won her second gold medal in the women’s individual event in Kuwait. Despite her age, Shalin, who has admirable leadership qualities, might not mind being called an ‘aunty’ by Malaysian youngsters who adore their bowling idol.
Who doesn't know Shalin Zulkifli? Her name is synonymous with Malaysian sports and the fans admire her for her extraordinary achievements in bowling. We have seen Shalin, the living legend, as the face of Milo packaging, television commercials, billboards, posters and more.
A national heroine from Selangor, she has constantly proven how determined and composed she is in high-pressure moments, evidently when she successfully struck her final frame in Kuwait to win the gold.
But it is not always a shiny day for the five-time Malaysia Sportswomen of the Year winner, as she has gone through turbulences to achieve sweet victories.
Hard work, dedication, commitment, mental strength, vocal on women empowerment as well as openness and humility are among the key values that have made Shalin, the wife of former national bowler Azidi Ameran and the mother of Aleya Azidi, rock the international bowling scene until today.
Knowing Shalin as a fellow athelete during my days with the national squash team for 20 years and now a wonderful friend, her strong characters can be a dictionary and guidance for our young athletes on how to be a great champion.
Malaysia will always be very grateful to Shalin, and I hope she will continue raising our Jalur Gemilang high. No one will be surprised if in 25 years’ time, ‘Grandma’ Shalin is still creating great success in the bowling world.
Wed Oct 30 2019
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