A frustrated looking Rafiq (right) waits his turn as Yannaphon (sitting, left) leads the Masters final round. - IZZRAFIQ ALIAS / The Star
SINGAPORE: Bowler Rafiq Ismail ended his debut SEA Games campaign with a silver in the men’s Masters – the mother of all titles.
The 18-year-old lost to Thailand’s Yannaphon Larpapharat 178-197, 203-217 in the step-ladder finals at the Orchid Bowl in the Orchid Country Club.
Earlier, Yannaphon had denied an all-Malaysian final when he edged out Adrian Ang 246-245 in the semi-finals.
Rafiq had earlier won three golds in the singles, trios and team-of-five events. It would have been the icing on the cake if he had added the Masters gold to his collection.
“It was a good experience to play against Yannaphon. He’s one of the top players in Asia and this is my first time facing him in a final,” said Rafiq who looked clearly frustrated after the final.
“I struggled on the lanes. I was left with a single pin still standing every time. So I just tried to spare everything as he was hitting strikes after strikes ... It did give me some pressure.
“I just wanted it too much today and it showed. I realised it at the end, but it was too late. It’s not the perfect ending I’d hoped for,” said Rafiq.
Rafiq was in high spirits after making the finals as the top qualifier with a 3,763 total, but he was just too gung ho in his bid for a fourth gold.
“I tried to make adjustments to the lanes, but it kinda just got worse,” he said.
“But I’m still happy with my performance here. But when I get back to KL, I’m determined to try and rectify those mistakes I did today,” added the reigning national champion.
Rafiq’s next assignment is the Bowling World Open in Tokyo, Japan, from July 9-12.
But Rafiq will enjoy a week off as will the rest of the bowling team who helped Malaysia sign off on their second best haul in the Games history with five golds, one silver and four bronzes.
The Star Online