Saturday January 12, 2013
Youngster Rafiq set for first major bowling tourney in Nagoya
By SHAMSHUL FITRI
PETALING JAYA: Talented youngster Mohd Rafiq Ismail will get a taste of his first major tournament when he takes to the lane in the International Bowling Championships in Nagoya, Japan, from Jan 15-19.
The Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) special squad trainee will head to Nagoya next week as part of chief coach Holloway Cheah’s big plan to bolster the men’s squad.
“Holloway is looking to add another bowler into the elite squad after Aaron (Kong) left the men’s squad and Rafiq, by merit, has what it takes,” said MTBC high performance manager Cheah Ban Cheng.
The tournament in Nagoya is the fourth leg of the World Bowling Tour, sanctioned by the World Tenpin Bowling Association.
The 16-year-old Rafiq will join Syafiq Ridhwan Abdul Malek, Zulmazran Zulkifli, Muhd Nur Aiman Khairuddin, Isaac Russell Paul, Aris Ardila Santosoh and Alex Liew in the men’s team for Nagoya.
Shalin Zulkifli, Jacqueline Jenelee Sijore, Esther Cheah, Sin Li Jane, Zandra Aziela Ibrahim Hakimi and Dayang Khairuniza Dhiyana Abang Jamalidon make up the women’s team.
Rafiq has yet to feature in any major tournaments, especially against those from the Professional Bowling Association (PBA).
“We want to see how he copes against the world’s best. He has achieved a lot on home ground and the tournament in Japan will give him the much needed exposure,” said Ban Cheng.
Heavily tipped to join the elite squad after the annual review by MTBC at the end of this month, Rafiq has won two Milo International Junior All-Stars titles in the past two years.