KUALA LUMPUR: Rafiq Ismail and Sin Li Jane have been rewarded for their consistent performances throughout the year so far.
The duo are the only national bowlers confirmed for the Philippines SEA Games from Nov 30-Dec 11 while the rest will have to wait until the oiling patterns are released by the organisers.
Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress secretary general Maradona Chok said the earliest they can decide on the remaining three men and three women line-up for the Games will be after the Asian Bowling Championships in Kuwait end of this month.
“We would like to field the best team but the lane patterns have not been given to us yet. The organisers only appointed Kegel to do the lane patterns recently, so we need to wait for them to send us the information so that we can decide which bowlers to send, ” said Maradona.
“Rafiq and Li Jane are the only ones sure of going as we will like to hold back the names as far as we can.
“They have been consistent in international tournaments. Both are also versatile – they can play on short or long oil patterns.”
Rafiq started slow this year but has since rediscovered the superb form that saw him crowned the Masters champion at the Indonesia Asian Games and the singles gold medal at the World Championships in Hong Kong last year.
The 22-year-old captured four international titles on the trot in July – Singapore Open, EBT Masters in Spain, Hong Kong Open and the Hong Kong leg (ABF Tours).
He was also impressive at the Inter-state Championships last month, bagging three golds and a silver to help Kuala Lumpur emerge as overall winners.
Li Jane claimed her second title in three months by winning the Sarawak Open recently.
She won the European Bowling Tour Masters in Madrid in July – her first title this season after reaching three stepladder finals at the Thailand Open (sixth), Malaysian Open (second) and USBC Queens in the United States (second).
The national bowling team have a four-gold target set for them despite the organisers changing the team format from six to four members.
“We’ve done well in the team event in the past but now, all teams have equal chances, ” said Maradona.
“It all depends on the mindset and confidence of the bowlers, and that is why we want to see the lane patterns first before making our final decision on the team.”
At the last Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, bowling contributed seven out of 11 golds at stake.