PETALING JAYA: National bowler Rafiq Ismail is one who likes to be outdoors and hang out with friends but he is also known for his discipline.
The world champion and Asian Games winner in 2018 has learnt a new virtue now – patience. And it’s thanks to the movement control order and Ramadan.
The 23-year-old said that, over the years, he would always visit the Ramadan bazaar in Kampung Baru to get delicacies like “kuih”, sweets and meat dishes to bring back home.
He said there would be lots of delicacies on the table thanks to his haul from the bazaar. This year, though, things have been different.
“Usually during the month of Ramadan, there will be lots of food on the table. However, due to the MCO, bazaars have been closed, so we are having few ‘kuih’ this time around, ” joked the chirpy Rafiq.
“Every Muslim knows this is an auspicious month. We pray and practise discipline but with the virus now, we must practise patience.
“This pandemic has taught me to be patient and not be selfish. I like to be outdoors and hang out with friends, but if I were to do so during this period, it would be irresponsible. It will also undo the efforts of the frontliners.”
He also said Ramadan feels different this year as his parents Ismail Nimat and Zaiton Abd Ghani and youngest sibling Muhd Razydan are the only ones at home. His other siblings are married and cannot come to their house often due to the MCO.
However, even during Ramadan, his focus is still on the game he loves, bowling, as he religiously follows the programmes sent by his coaches.
“I still work out every day to stay fit. Bowling wise, I can only do shadow bowling, which is doing full steps without the ball at home. I am not the only one who misses bowling and competing, but health and safety come first.
“Also, it is good to be at home because I can watch my old bowling videos and compare them with my current performances. Now I know what to fix when I start training.”
After a brilliant 2018 that saw him become the world and Asian Games, Rafiq racked up six titles last year.
He won four international titles on the trot in July last year – the Singapore Open, EBT Masters in Spain, Hong Kong Open and ABF Tours (Hong Kong leg) – before helping Malaysia claim the trios gold at the ATBC in Kuwait in November and team gold at the Philippines SEA Games in December.
With competitions cancelled or postponed, Rafiq said he has little expectation of himself as he does not know when the season will resume.
“There are no big tournaments coming up. Tournaments will resume only at the end of the year or next year. Right now, the world is healing and we cannot be pushing for anything.
“I have learnt that patience is very important. I will wait for my time.”