PETALING JAYA: National coach Ben Heng (pic) has vowed to repay the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress’ (MTBC) faith in him by guiding Malaysia to their first medal in eight years at the World Men’s Championships in Hong Kong from Nov 23-Dec 5.
Malaysia have failed to get onto the podium since Alex Liew and Muhd Nur Aiman Khairuddin bagged silver in the doubles in Munich in 2010.
More importantly, the men’s side are out to prove a point as they were outshone by the women’s team at the Indonesia Asian Games recently.
Rafiq Ismail won the men’s Masters title in Indonesia but it could not mask the fact the men fared miserably as a team with no medal to show from trios and team-of-six events. They did not even finish in the top five.
Ben is aware of the tough task ahead but the 44-year-old, who helped Malaysia to two medals – trios and team – at the 2006 World Championships in Busan, South Korea, is ready for the challenge after being given the nod by long-serving head coach Holloway Cheah to helm the team in Hong Kong.
“Handling the team in competitions is not entirely a new thing to me,” said Ben who donned the national colours from 1996-2006.
“There were many occasions where I led bowlers to Open tournaments and I also had the experience of taking the team to official tournaments such as the 2012 World Youth Championships in Bangkok and 2008 Commonwealth Championships in Belfast (Northern Ireland).
“I have never stopped learning after coming back from each meet and I shall only get better.
“I’m enjoying every moment since I started coaching in 2007 and it brings me lots of joy seeing the bowlers doing well.
“The World Men’s Championships will be my biggest duty yet and surely it’s going to be tough to win medals. But we have a formidable squad and it’s not impossible for us.
“It’s been quite a while since Alex and Aiman won our last medal. I would like to help the boys get back on the podium.”
His immediate focus now is to get his team ready for any of the six possible different oiling patterns.
“The organisers will pick one of the six oiling patterns and they will only announce during the team managers meeting on the eve of the championships,” said Ben.
“So we all have got a lot of things to work on.”