A lesson in work ethic
A brief history of lawn bowls in Malaysia
The short history of Lawn Bowls in Malaysia is one that all supporters of our great sport should read and we would like to give you a brief insight into what is a wonderful story as the country’s Men’s and Women’s teams compete at the SA International six nations event in Adelaide South Australia.
In 1996 Australia’s Robbie Dobbins and wife Bev travelled to Malaysia for what was an overdue holiday. As professional coach at Banora club in Queensland and Manager of the Australian Men’s team Robbie’s life was busy and relaxing in the sun for a few days seemed just what the doctor ordered. The trip was planned to give the couple three days in Kuala Lumpur prior to returning home and there appeared to be nothing on the horizon to change those plans. But as we know fate has a habit of stepping in when least expected and everything changed dramatically after a visit by Razak Hitam the then President of Bowls Malaysia. It was two years out from the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games and Hitam was keen to have a competitive group of bowlers on the greens in time for what was to be a great sporting event. Dobbins was asked to delay his return to Australia and over the following five days he was convinced to take up the reins as Malaysia’ first National Bowling Coach. It was a massive decision that saw Bev fly home to Queensland and her husband remain with a brief to tour the country in search of 10 men and 10 women who could be trained in the art of lawn bowling. At the time there were only three greens in Malaysia, two in Ipoh and one in the capital and all were synthetic and after selection 20 prospective bowlers moved into new accommodation in Ipoh as Dobbins set up a program that would carry the training group forward. Over the following 12 months the players, who came from all points of the country worked under a regime which had them on the greens from 9am until 9pm from Monday to Friday. At times the mountain ahead of Dobbins and his charges must have looked insurmountable but as with most pursuits hard work paid dividends and the fledgling team took home one Silver and two Bronze medals from their first foray into international competition. “I have coached five National teams” Dobbins reminisced when I spoke to him earlier today “but the work ethic of the Malaysian bowlers is fifty percent better than all others. During the training process the group as a whole were fully aware that they could not move forward until they had mastered the basics and that is why as a group they are technically sound.” Dobbins returned to Australia in 1998 after the completion of his contract and in Adelaide he is the Australian Assistant National Coach working alongside National Coach Steve Glasson.
In the years between 1998 and 2012 the Malaysian National teams have impacted in all International competitions and the country’s rise in stature over such a short period speaks volumes for those involved at all levels. At the 2011 Asia Pacific Championships in Adelaide Safaun Said and Sitizalina Ahmad secured Gold Medals in the Men’s and Women’s Singles respectively and along the way both bowlers impressed all with their competitive performances. In 2012 in the lead up to World Bowls National Coach Dr. Simon Botha and Manager Hamzah Sajadi are charged with preparing a team which will compete against the best in the world and you can bet that the Malaysians will be in the mix when the whips are cracking.
Article provided to bowlsaustralia.com.au by John Bevin.