This was borne out as Siti Zalina Ahmad, who is only 23, beat England's Jean Baker, New Zealand's Marlene Castle and Australia's Karen Murphy on her way to the gold medal in the women's singles.
It is a remarkable story: lawn bowls was unknown in Malaysia until around eight years ago, when it was introduced in all 14 provinces in preparation for the 1998 Games.
Coached by leading Australian coaches, raw novices have become champions and Siti Zalina's gold is the result of faith, funding, inspired management and bags of application.
MANCHESTER, Aug 5: MALAYSIA ended its Commonwealth Games campaign with a flourish, exceeding its four-gold medal target with a haul of seven gold, nine silver and 18 bronze medals in Manchester, England, yesterday.
It was the nation's best-ever haul outside the country, close to Malaysia's record of 10 gold, 14 silver and 12 bronze medals achieved in the last edition four years ago in Kuala Lumpur.
What made the achievement more memorable was the fact that this was the first time Malaysia had won a gold medal from a sport other than badminton or weightlifting away from home.
The surprise gold came from plucky lawn bowler Siti Zalina Ahmad who displayed nerves of steel to defeat Karen Murphy of Australia 2119 in the women's singles final yesterday.
If Siti served a surprise, so did the women's badminton pair of Ang Li Peng-Lim Pek Siah who came from behind to beat New Zealand's Nicole Gordon-Sara Petersen 7-8, 7-4, 2-7, 75, 7-0 for the gold.
Malaysia's second badminton gold of the night came from 20-year-old Hafiz Hashim who beat compatriot Lee Tsuen Seng 7-3, 7-1, 3-7, 7-8, 7-4 in the men's singles final.
The third badminton gold came in the all-Malaysian doubles final with top seeds Chew Choon Eng and Chan Chong Ming beating Choong Tan Fook and Chang Kim Wai 7-5, 4-7, 27, 7-5, 7-3.
|Standing tall with the giants, Malaysia's Lim (right) loses out narrowly to second-placed international star Thorpe (left) and world champion Welsh. --AP|