Syimir Abdul Razak on his way to winning the Malaysian Open title last year.
PETALING JAYA: Defending champion Syimir Abdul Razak wants to fast track his title defence in the Malaysian Open bowling championships by earning a straight entry to Round Two of the Masters on Saturday.
In order to do that, he must be in the top four among the Malaysian bowlers in the qualifying rounds which are currently being held at the Sunway Mega Lanes in Sunway Pyramid.
However, that is easier said than done.
The 21-year-old, who is in the national elite squad, is currently in sixth position.
“I have a slight advantage being the defending champion as I automatically qualified for Round One of the Masters. But I want to have a stronger edge to defend my title ... so I need to be in Round Two.
“But things are a bit difficult right now and I’m far from my best. I have gone through two sessions of qualifying but I’m just sixth (1,419 pinfalls over six games) in the local pool,” said Syimir.
Leading the qualifiers is Mohd Rafiq Ismail on 1,463 pins, while seasoned campaigner Adrian Ang is second on 1,450 pins.
The men’s defending champion and 32 qualifiers will play eight games in Round One of the Masters on Friday. The top 16 from that group will move on to Round Two.
The top four from the local and overseas pools qualify automatically for Round Two where they meet the 16 bowlers from the previous round. They will then play another round of eight games to decide the six finalists for the step-ladder finals.
Syimir’s win last year inspired him to improve his game and in the process earned him a place in the national elite squad during the trials in January.
But he knows that defending his title will be much harder than winning it the first time.
“Of course defending the title comes with added pressure but I have to look at the bigger picture. I hope the pressure will spur me on to do well in the tournament,” he said.