Men on a roll, but women have to roll up their sleeves

PETALING JAYA: It was an outing of mixed fortunes for Malaysian bowlers in the Asian Championships at the SCCA Bowling Centre in Hong Kong.

The men’s team brought home four golds, three silvers and three bronzes while the women’s team only won two silvers.

Team manager Maradona Chok was pleased with the men’s team’s performance but disappointed with the women’s side.

No one has really stepped up since Shalin Zulkifli and Syaidatul Afifah Badrul Hamidi retired, and the young bowlers are still gaining competition experience.

As a result, Malaysia do not have a solid women’s team at the moment.

“Overall, it was a super performance from the men’s team, winning the overall title with 4-3-3.

“They have proven themselves to be one of the best teams in the world now.

“As for the women’s team, they under-performed despite going through a rebuilding process at the moment.

“They did not bowl to what they are capable of and the pressure to deliver may have been the cause,” said Maradona.

National head coach Ben Heng, who replaced Holloway Cheah last month, has made his mark by steering his charges to four golds, five silvers and three bronzes.

“As for Ben Heng taking over the reins, this championship shows that he is ready and capable of continuing the legacy that Holloway has created.”

Malaysia did not manage to defend their overall champions title after finishing second in the overall medal tally behind Singapore, who bagged 5-3-3.

However, they can still hold their heads high as they hauled a total of 12 medals, one more than their previous outing in Kuwait in 2019.

Maradona was contented with their achievement as they faced world class bowlers in the championship.

“We fought hard but fell short in the end.

“Definitely a little disappointed as the men dominated the field and we needed the women to step up but that did not materialise.

“South Korea and Singapore are world class teams that can win world titles.

“So, we are still satisfied as it was a very close fight for the overall title,” he said.

Rafiq Ismail had a successful haul in the Asian meet as he bagged four golds from the doubles, trios, team and Masters events, and one silver (singles).

“I’m speechless. At this level, getting a gold is already hard but I got four ... which I didn’t expect.

“All I did was stay focused on my shots and did not care what my opponents scored.

“It’s just me against myself,” said Rafiq.

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