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 Sports

Virus break lets Shalin hit pause button - and prepare for restart

10th July, 2020

PETALING JAYA: While many athletes may have struggled to cope with not being able to train during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no such problem for former bowling world champion, Shalin Zulkifli.

This kind of stop-start training is nothing new to the 42-year-old mother of one as she used the three months of “rest” following the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) since March 18 to calmly prepare for a “restart”.

Having donned national colours for almost three decades, the wear and tear of training and competition have certainly taken a toll on Shalin, who has had to undergo rehabilitation and make a few minor tweaks to her training routines as she tries to cope with the latest injuries to her wrists, ankles and knees.

“Been close to a month since we started our training, but this is not a real struggle for me. I was injured a few times these past few years, so it’s quite normal for me to be off (training) for a few months and then come back.

“In a way, the injuries kind of prepared me for this (three months of no training). The injuries are manageable and we have very good doctors at the ISN (National Sports Institute). They’ve helped me better manage my injuries.

“I also work with our fitness trainer to modify the exercises to suit my physical limitations,” she told Bernama during the national team’s training session at the Sunway Mega Lanes here on Thursday.

With no major tournaments scheduled until the Asian Championships in Hong Kong, which had been postponed from July 4-14 to Jan 15-25 next year, the three-time world champion said the pandemic had given the keglers a much-needed rest and family time.

Asked how she felt about being frequently asked regarding retirement, the five-time National Sportswoman of the Year said it was a “very Asian thing”.

“Because of my age maybe… in our environment, that is the question they will keep asking you because they want younger athletes. But sometimes younger athletes are not necessarily good… depends on each individual’s capabilities and the circumstances, what they’re capable of.

“Perhaps we are not as strong, as fast and as fit (as the younger athletes), but we make up for it in other ways. So, it’s not like if you’re old, you have to retire. Unfortunately, that is the common thinking in Asian countries, whereas in Europe they value experience,” she explained.

Shalin, who is among the country’s leading sports icon, has won numerous international and regional accolades, including 20 SEA Games gold medals since making her debut at the 1993 Singapore edition.

She is just two gold medals shy of equalling former swimming ace, Nurul Huda Abdullah’s record as Malaysia’s all-time top gold medallist at the biennial Games. – Bernama

   
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