Tuesday February 26, 2013
Holloway wants aspiring juniors to prove themselves in NZ
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: New faces, led by Mohd Rafiq Ismail, have been told to seize their chances when they roll off in the Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, today.
The 16-year-old Rafiq will be joined by three others – Isaac Russell Paul, Siti Shazwani Ahmad Suhaimi and Dayang Khairuniza Dhiyana Abang Jamalidon – in the battle against more experienced bowlers, including those from England, Scotland and Australia, in the men’s and women’s singles events.
Both the men and women will bowl six games on the long-oil pattern and the first-timers are hoping to strike it big.
National bowling chief coach Holloway Cheah said that should the four impress, they’ll most likely be considered for this year’s World Championships (for men and women) in the United States in August.
Six men and six women will be selected for the world meet.
“I did not name the seniors for the Auckland meet as I wanted to give others a chance. Rafiq and Isaac have the ability to outperform and outshine their seniors and I hope they’ll give strong performances in the singles today. Shazwani and Dayang are also no pushovers,” Holloway said in a telephone interview from Auckland.
“This is a great stage for me to see what these bowlers are capable of. This is not only an exposure tournament but I want them to go for medals.
“I want our second stringers to stay on the heels of the seniors by doing well in international tournaments. This healthy rivalry will be good for Malaysian bowling.”
Of the four, Rafiq has been on fire this year.
He put several professional bowlers to shame en route to finishing third in the Nagoya International Bowling tournament and, last week, he did better than some seniors to finish among the top six in a roll-off exercise.
“The bowlers went through the official practice today and all four adjusted well to this old bowling alley (Pins Lincoln Centre),” said Holloway.
There are eight gold medals at stake. Besides the singles, the Malaysian foursome will also be fighting for medals in the doubles, team and Masters events. The Masters will be held on Sunday.
For the record, Malaysia enjoyed an excellent start in the tournament in 2011 when Zulmazran Zulkifli and Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman nailed the gold medals in the men’s and women’s singles events.
Malaysia bagged a total of three golds, three silvers and one bronze that year.