PETALING JAYA: Teen titans Rafiq Ismail and Nora Lyana Nastasia completed a clean sweep for Malaysia at the Thailand International Open bowling championships in Bangkok.
The men’s competition was an all-leftie final between Rafiq and compatriot Muhd Nur Aiman Khairuddin.
In-form Rafiq came back from a match down to beat Aiman 185-197, 256-216 in the step-ladder final to land his first Thailand Open title. It was his 10th win out of 11 events in four tournaments this season.
Rafiq, a four-gold medallist at the Asian Youth Tenpin Championships in Macau last month, received 300,000 Thai baht (RM33,802) while Aiman took home 150,000 Thai baht (RM16,901).
It was also an all-Malaysian affair in the women’s final with 17-year-old Nora edging Esther Cheah 247-214 to bag her maiden senior title in her first senior tournament. Esther also finished second in 2006.
“It feels amazing to win my first senior international crown,” said Nora who collected 100,000 Thai baht (RM11,267) for her efforts.
Nora showed just why she was given the nod to compete in the women’s Open category with a confident display throughout the week.
Having kept pace in the first round of qualifying, Nora’s 1,305 pinfalls saw her top the leaderboard in round three to qualify directly for the final.
Having qualified in third place, Esther put up a gallant display by amassing 258 pinfalls to beat compatriot Sin Li Jane (227) and Indonesia’s Tannya Roumimper (190) in the semi-final to set up a final with Nora.
In the final, it was Nora who got off to a better start with three strikes while Esther had an open first frame. From then onwards, it was Nora all the way as she picked up five more strikes to seal victory.
“This win means a lot to me. It’s my first senior tournament and the experience here will do me a world of good,” said Nora, who won a gold and three silvers at the Asian Youth Tenpin Championships.