29th SEA Games Tenpin Bowling Championships
Third one-two for Malaysia
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22nd August, Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia dominated the third day of the 29th SEA Games Tenpin Bowling Championships at Sunway Megalanes with a third one-two finish after Rafiq Ismail-Sin Li Jane and Shalin Zulkifli-Alex Liew captured the Mixed Doubles gold and silver medals.

Singles bronze medallist, Zulkifli and Doubles gold medallist, Alex Liew led from start to finish in the opening squad of the Mixed Doubles event in the morning with a total of 2803. Zulkifli posted 1354 while Liew knocked down the highest six-games score of 1459 to lead Squad A with 2803.

Yanee Saebe and Annop Arromsaranon of Thailand, who trailed the Malaysian pair most of the way, managed to narrow the gap from 153 to 34 pins after they totaled 2769 to finish second.

Ryan Lalisang and Doubles gold medallist, Tannya Roumimper of Indonesia took third spot with 2694, a further 75 pins away. The first Malaysian pair of Esther Cheah and two silver medallist, Adrian Ang was trailing their compatriots in the early stages but slipped down to fourth with 2692.

Zulkifli-Liew and Rafiq-Sin with their silver and gold medals

With a high benchmark set by Zulkifli and Liew in the first squad, Malaysia's fourth pair of Rafiq and Sin had a lot to do. Singapore's Muhammad Jaris Goh and Singles gold medallist, Cherie Tan set the early pace but was immediately overtaken by Rafiq and Sin after the second game.

Although with two big games of 524 in the second and 504 in the fourth game, Rafiq and Sin still had a gap of 866 before the last two games. Their effort to overhaul their team-mates was made more difficult when they managed only 418 in the fifth game, leaving them needing 448 or more in their final game to have a chance of snatching the gold.

The pair prevailed by ending with a strong 461 to clinch the gold medal with 2816, with just 13 pins to spare. Sin contributed 1305 while the star of the show was undoubtedly Rafiq, scoring a record-breaking 1508.

"It was good to be assigned to the second squad when you know what scores are needed to win," said the 20-year-old Rafiq during the press interview. "The scores were very high and we have to put in a lot of effort and concentration.

"I set myself a target of a six-game total of 1450 and to surpass that gave me a very satisfying feeling. It's not over yet after three events. We now have to put in even more effort to keep up our standards and achieve our target set by our coach."

"This is the first time I'm partnering Rafiq and I felt very comfortable bowling with him," said the 25-year-old Sin. "We gave each other a lot of encouragement and when he was doing well, I was much more relaxed."

Nadia Pramanik and Singles bronze medallist, Yeri Ramadona of Indonesia, who finished second to the gold medallist, fell short by 73 pins, missing the podium and finishing fourth with 2696. Another Indonesian pair of Lalisang and Roumimper, who was third in the first squad, rounded out the top five.

Annop Arromsaranon and Yanee Saebe winning a first medal for Thailand with the bronze

After three events, Malaysia has a medal haul of 3-4-1 ahead of arch-rival Singapore in second with a haul of 1-1-1. Indonesia is third with 1-0-2. Competition will shift to the Trios (3-player Team) event tomorrow over two blocks of three games with the top three teams being awarded the medals.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Kuala Lumpur.

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