Monday, September 24, 2012

Syafiq leads the way

THE Malaysian bowling team celebrated their Sunday in contrasting fashion at the Galactica Bowling Centre in Cyprus at the end of the first round of 12 games at the World Singles Championship.

Muhamad Syafiq Ridhwan Abdul Malek (picture), was in great form to finish as top seed at the end of the second block of six games to earn an automatic bye to the Final Step Two.


Esther Cheah, Jacqueline Sijore and Zulmazran Zulkilfi, also qualified for the Final Step rounds, but have to bowl in the Final Step One round.

Esther, who was among the top nine, slid down to 12th while Jacqueline finished 13th. Zulmazran, on the other hand, finished 21st.

The first 24 bowlers after the first round of 12 games qualify for the next round, but the top nine earn a bye to Final Step Two. Bowlers placed 10th to 24th bowl in the Final Step One in a best-of-five matches in a predefined bracket before the winners move to the Final Step Two.

The best-of-five matches format will be used until the quarter-finals. The semi-finals and final will be played over one game.

Syafiq gave a scintillating performance to knockdown 236 in the opening game yesterday, to follow with lines of 258, 215, 247, 211 & 227 for a 1,394 series total and a grand total of 2,773. He was the talk of the town with the media all eager to speak to him (below).

He will now bowl the winner of Romania’s Catalin Gheorghe (17th) against Denmark’s Thomas Larsen (18th). A win over Gheorghe or Larsen will earn Syafiq a quarter-finals berth.

Zulmazran, who finished with 2,357, will have a tough opponent in his Step One round match against 12th placed bowler Finland’s Kimmo Lhtonen.

Esther, who finished second block with a subdued display with lines of 220, 193, 199, 203, 199 and 221 for a combined 2,530 total, will be up against 21st placed Hannah Cullen of Ireland.

Jacqueline gave a much improved performance in her second block despite starting with 197. She went on to fire lines of 255, 203, 234, 190 and 200 for a commendable 1,279 series and a grand total of 2522. She faces Canada’s Isabelle Rioux, who was 20th.

If Esther and Jacqueline win their respective ties, they will face each other in the next round.

American Kelly Kulick topped the women’s round, followed by Russia’s Alena Korobkvoca, Sweden’s Rebecka Larsen and another American, Shannon O’Keefee.

The knockout stage is going to be a different ball game where quick reactions to make line and ball adjustments will be required besides a strong mental state to progress further.

TOUCHING BASE....Syafiq and coach Holloway Cheah getting back news to Malaysia after the event

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