Karen Murphy aims to hit the ground running as she makes her Hong Kong International Classic debut
Triple world champion Karen Murphy, of Australia, knows her prestigious titles will count for nothing as she makes her debut in this weekend's Hong Kong International Classic.
Murphy reached the pinnacle of the sport when she lifted the women's singles title at the world outdoor championships in Adelaide in 2012 - the worlds are held every year - but she will be playing in a whole new environment when she steps up to the plate in Hong Kong's premier bowls competition. She also won gold at the worlds in the fours and triples (2008 and 2012).
"I will need to get used to the conditions here. Hopefully, my form will get better and better as the tournament wears on. I hope to hit the ground running," said the 40-year-old, who hails from Wollongong, New South Wales.
"Obviously, I will be out to do my best and I'm ready for the competition, but there are many fantastic bowlers here. In the midst of a star-studded field, I hope to get going," said the Australian, who is a full-time player.
Murphy will receive plenty of opposition, with defending Classic champion Siti Zalina Ahmad, of Malaysia, the former world No 1-ranked bowler and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, looking to dominate the competition for another year.
"The Hong Kong tournament will serve as warm-up for the next world championships, which will be held in Auckland in 2016. I'm also going to compete in the Asia-Pacific championships in New Zealand from November 18, so I really want to produce my best form.
"It's exciting to be here. Hong Kong has been fantastic so far," said Murphy, who has been playing outdoors all year.
Defending Classic men's singles champion Robert Grant, of Scotland, is also wary of the competition, calling this year's field the strongest he has seen.
Grant, who also won the pairs competition in 2013, said the going will be tough as he aims for back-to-back Classic titles.
"It would be very nice to win here again, but it's going to be very tough given the field we have this year.
"It's a very strong field," said 55-year-old Grant.
The knock-out singles event will be played at three venues over the weekend with the finals to be held at the Kowloon Bowling Green Club on Sunday.