KUALA LUMPUR: Top national bowler Zulmazran Zulkifli knows all about being second best – and he doesn’t like it at all.
And he is all fired up to get the monkey off his back by ending his title chase with a gold medal in the Guangzhou Asian Games from Nov 12-27.
The flamboyant Zulmazran has been the most consistent bowler in the national team this year, yet, due to bad luck, he has not won any titles so far.
And all he has to show for are agonising close calls – finishing second at the Opens in Kuwait and Hong Kong and coming out third at the international events in Jakarta and Paris.
“I have not missed the cut in any of my tournaments this year and finished within the top 10 in all my outings. That shows that I am the most consistent bowler in the team,” said Zulmazran.
“Yet, it is frustrating when I do not have a title to show for all my efforts. I won three Opens last year.
“It is more painful when I know that I am in the best condition in my bowling career. I feel good about my game, confident with my swing and, in fact, I am injury-free.
“Despite all these, I still go to bed wondering when my long wait is going to end.
“The truth is that only champions are remembered and I am yearning to be one this year.”
Although disheartened, Zulmazran is not down. He is ready to get it right in his third Asiad outing.
“I just need one gold medal in the Asiad to make up for all the frustrations. It will help me to forget all the near misses that I have had to endure this year,” he said.
“This is my third Asiad and I want to win my first medal. Hopefully, good times will come my way in Guangzhou.”
Zulmazran, who has won almost every honour in all other major events since joining the national team five years ago, said that South Korea and the United Arab Emirates would be their main challengers.
“These countries have depths in their teams. Hopefully, we will be able to rise up to the occasion,” he said.
Besides Zulmazran, the others in the men’s squad are Alex Liew, Aaron Kong, Adrian Ang, Mohd Syafiq Ridhwan and Nur Aiman.
At the Doha Games four years ago, the men’s team contributed one gold medal through the trios event.