KUALA LUMPUR: National keglers have finally received the green light from the National Sports Council (NSC) to commence training at the Sunway Mega Lanes, from Monday after a three-month hiatus.

Previously, the NSC was hesitant although bowling alleys are allowed to start operating from Monday after the government allowed non-contact and indoor sports, including badminton and bowling, to resume during the recovery movement control order (RMCO) period till Aug 31.

It was mainly because the NSC was not prepared to jeopardise the safety of the athletes under the Road to Tokyo (RTT) centralised camp scheduled till June 30. However, NSC has finally found a solution.

Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) secretary-general Maradona Chok said the NSC gave clearance for the national keglers having their own accommodation in the Klang Valley, as long as they adhere to the standard operating procedure (SOP) provided by the NSC and the National Security Council.

“We are allowed to do so, for those not staying in NSC, Bukit Jalil because they need to prepare for athletes to get back in to stay. So those from outstation staying in Casa will remain at home until the hostel is ready for them to return to.

“Our men’s and women’s teams will train at different times, while the backup squad will train in the afternoon to limit the number of athletes at any one time. They will bowl one to a lane and have strict social distancing measures in place,” he told Bernama.

All the national athletes were asked to vacate their hostels in Bukit Jalil and sent home before the MCO was imposed on March 18, with only the Olympic-bound athletes under the RTT programme having returned for training since Monday.

The elite squad keglers of six men and six women are expected to report for training on Monday, except for Penangite Adrian Ang who is expected to be back on Wednesday.

Maradona, along with Ampang Superbowl Malaysia marketing manager Mustafa Yassin and Sunway Mega Lanes assistant general manager Michelle Wong, met the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) officials yesterday to discuss the SOP for tenpin bowling.

“Bowlers are to be seated when another bowler is bowling as well as when a bowler is on the lanes. One lane courtesy is to be observed as the distance between bowlers must be more than two metre on the approach and ball return area.

“Coaches are not allowed to have physical contact with bowlers and should keep to the social distancing criteria. Bowlers are also not to have any physical contact with their teammates. Again, under-12 kids are strongly advised to not start training,” he said.

He pointed out that MTBC does not have the authority to enforce the SOP prepared by KBS, and advised the bowling centre operators to adhere to the SOPs provided by the National Security Council, KBS, state and local authorities for business operations. – Bernama