Flag bearer Muhammad Rafiq all pumped up to shine

Last update: 21/11/2019

BANGI, Nov 21 -- Elite kegler Muhammad Rafiq Ismail’s selection as the Malaysian team’s flag-bearer at the 30th SEA Games in the Philippines has given him a boost in his quest for gold.

The 2018 World Championships men's singles champion said he was thrilled to be selected to carry the Jalur Gemilang national flag from among the 773 athletes in the Malaysian contingent.

"I am proud to be carrying the Malaysian flag at the SEA Games and this has motivated me to do well in Manila," he said when met by reporters after the flag handover ceremony in conjunction with the Malaysian contingent’s final assembly for the 2019 SEA Games at Hotel Tenera here today.

The ceremony was officiated by Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

Muhammad Rafiq aims to win at least one gold in the four events he would be taking part in.

The Kuala Lumpur-born kegler will participate in singles, doubles, mixed doubles and team events.

"I am aiming for gold in the team event, but getting (gold) in other events would be a bonus for me. I don’t want to put pressure on myself and I want to remain focused,” he said, adding that the presence of Shalin Zulkifli would spur him to perform well at the games.

Muhammad Rafiq said the country's tenpin bowling squad is now actively training at the Bowling Centre, Endah Parade shopping mall as the lanes and "oiling pattern" there are very similar to the EDSA Shaw Starmall Bowling Centre in Manila, the venue for the bowling events from Dec 3-8.

He added that the country's bowling team will depart for Manila on Nov 29 to adjust to the venue.

Muhammad Rafiq won three gold and one silver medals at the 2015 Sea Games in Singapore, but won two golds and one silver at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.