PETALING JAYA: World bowling champion Rafiq Ismail (pic) has an advice for his juniors after quietly watching them in action during training.
While delighted with the ability shown by the youngsters especially Hafiz Zainuddin, Shahrukh Amin Zulkifli, Syazirol Shamsudin and Nevern Netaneel Marcellinus, the 23-year-old Rafiq believes one of the areas that they need to improve is on converting spares.
He said during practice sessions, juniors usually leave more spares than the seniors.
“As we have had not much competitions, I’ve been able to watch and guide the youngsters, ” said Rafiq, who did not compete in any competition in 2020.
“Most of them do better than the seniors in getting the strikes but they tend to leave more spares.
“One of the best ways to improve on this is to be consistent and have a better knowledge of the lane conditions.
“The reading of the lanes will get better with lots of practice. These youngsters have what it takes to be a top bowler, but they need to put the effort in training.” he said.
Rafiq is quite pleased with how he has maintained top-three positions in the national roll-offs.
“It’s good to be among the top three. I just need to be more consistent, ” he said.
Rafiq had a brilliant year in 2018 when he became the world and Asian Games champions.
In 2019, he also racked up four Open titles – the Singapore Open, European Masters in Spain, Hong Kong Open, Asian Tour Hong Kong leg – before helping Malaysia claim the trios gold at the Asian Championships in Kuwait in November and team gold at the Philippines SEA Games in December.
This year, Rafiq has lowered his expectations.
“I’ll be pleased to compete if the tournaments resume. But if there isn’t one, it’s okay, safety comes first.”