Lawn bowls women's triples gold medallists (from left) Nor Fidrah Noh, Nor Hashimah and Maisarah Aminluddin pose after their win yesterday.
MALAYSIA swept four gold medals in lawn bowls but there was bitter disappointment for two-time Commonwealth Games champion Siti Zalina Ahmad as she was denied the women's singles gold yet again by a single shot at the Queen Sirikit Sports Centre in Pathum Thani yesterday.
Only Siti Zalina was left to rue her missed chance as Thailand's Songsin Tsao snatched a 21-20 win in the 22nd end as the Malaysian failed for a third time to win a Sea Games gold medal.
But her teammates stayed true to form as the men's triples overwhelmed Thailand 24-11 while the men's pair of Azim Azami Mohd Ariffin and Mohd Amir Mohd Yusof edged the hosts 19-17.
"There was a bit of pressure on us after we lost to the Philippines in our first match and every match after that was a must-win.
The women's triples of Maisarah Aminluddin, Nor Fidrah Noh and Nor Hashimah Ismail and the women's pair of Emma Firyani Saroji and Azlina Arshad ensured Malaysia kept a tight grip on the gold medals in their events since lawn bowls made its Sea Games debut in 1999.
Malaysia strolled to a 24-11 win over Thailand in the triples but Emma and Azlina had to dig deep to finally subdue the Philippines 16-15 in the pairs.
Malaysian Lawn Bowls Federation president Tan Sri Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid was elated with the four-gold haul which bettered their achievement in Manila by one, but was baffled by the defeats of Siti Zalina and Safuan Said in the singles.
"We set a target of six but I am not disappointed as the four we won is still one of our best results in the Sea Games," said Ahmad Sarji.
"But I am puzzled as to why Safuan, who is ranked No 1 in the world, and Siti Zalina, the World No 3, failed here. It only goes to show that the standard of lawn bowls in the Sea Games has improved tremendously."
Siti Zalina, who was 16-7 down after 11 ends, staged a remarkable recovery to lead 20-19 going into the 22nd end but Songsin won two shots in the final end for her third consecutive singles gold.