Jonathan Ding Sagan during training in May.
PETALING JAYA: A big test awaits Jonathan Ding Sagan at the World Youth Championships at the SCAA Bowling Centre in Hong Kong from Aug 6-15 and he’s looking to ace it.
It was at the same venue that the 21-year-old Sarawakian partnered Nadzmi Fikri to win a doubles silver for Malaysia at last year’s Asian Youth Championships.
Familiarity aside, Jonathan is hoping to make a big breakthrough since he joined the elite squad in January.
“I’ve managed to make it into round two of every Open tournament that I’ve competed in this year. To me, that’s an achievement. But I want to keep improving and I want to go one step higher. I hope to do that at the World Youth Championships,” said Jonathan.
“I think we have a good, strong, solid team with Rafiq (Ismail), Timmy (Tan) and Ahmad Muaz Fishol (back-up squad). Our target is to land the team gold and my personal target is to make it to the boys’ Masters final,” added Jonathan, who won the boys’ Open title at the 2011 PBAP Bevida-Storm International Challenge in Manila.
And there is a lot riding in Hong Kong than just a championship medal for Jonathan.
With the Asian Games squad yet to be determined, Jonathan is keeping his fingers crossed a good showing will help him make the six-man squad to Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19-Oct 4.
“I think there is a fighting chance because the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) have opened the selection to all the elite bowlers. All that I can do is perform well and hope for the best. But right now, my focus in on the World Youth Championships. I want to make an impact in the championships,” said Jonathan.
Jonathan has now spend six months in the elite squad, and he confessed it’s no walk in the park.
“It wasn’t an easy jump to make. Everything is different – the level of competition as well as the added pressure to perform.
“It’s the opportunity to compete in bigger competitions that I cherish the most.
“I still have a lot to learn. I get to work with great people like (national coach) Holloway (Cheah), the coaches and all the seniors in the squad. And I just have to keep working hard to raise my own standards,” said Jonathan.