Bowler Rafiq targets podium finish in Malaysian International Open

Last update: 17/04/2019

KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 (Bernama) -- National bowler Muhammad Rafiq Ismail is eyeing a podium finish in next week’s 2019 Malaysian International Open Bowling Championships and, thus, collect points to qualify for the Philippines SEA Games in December.

Rafiq, who won the Masters Open title in the previous edition two years ago, however, expects a tougher time from bowlers from the United States.

“The challenge this time will be torrid, with the presence of talented bowlers. Still, I am confident of a podium finish. As hosts, there will be additional pressure, but we have our advantages.

“All the national bowlers are training at the tournament venue, so that in itself is already an advantage,” he told a pre-tournament press conference today.

Bowlers from 18 countries will compete in the 40th edition of the RM405,750 championships, which will be held at the Sunway Mega Lanes, Sunway Pyramid from April 26-May 4.

Among the top-notch bowlers who will be in action are England’s Dominic Barret, Americans Sean Rash and Kyle Troup as well as Thailand’s Yannaphon Larpapharat and Annop Arromsaranon.

Rafiq also expects stronger competition in the race to qualify for the SEA Games as only four men and four women would be selected this time compared to six men and six women previously.

“The selection will be based on the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) ranking through points earned from competitions we take part in. I hope I can qualify for the Games, though,” he said.

Meanwhile, national coach Ben Heng believes his charges can get on the podium in the Malaysian International Open despite the presence of more world-class bowlers.

“The difference this time is that there will be more top-class bowlers, especially in the men’s division, but I am fairly confident they win it,” he said.