Red hot Rafiq strikes second title within 24 hours

Rafiq Ismail and Lara Posadas-Wong posing with their respective trophies. (Asian Bowling Federation pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: National kegler Rafiq Ismail won his second title within 24 hours after emerging victorious at the Hong Kong leg of Asian Bowling Federation (ABF) Tour on Sunday.

The reigning world champion overcame teammate Tun Hakim Tun Hasnul Azam 266-247 in the all-Malaysian men’s final at the SCAA Bowling Centre for his first ABF Tour title, according to the ABF’s official website.

The only other Malaysian to have won the Hong Kong leg of ABF Tour since 2004 was former national kegler Kang Bo Long in 2012.

On Saturday, the 22-year-old defeated another teammate, Ahmad Muaz Fishol, to clinch the 45th Hong Kong International Open title at the same venue, his third title of the season after winning the Singapore Open last month and European Bowling Tour Masters in Madrid early July.

On Sunday, Rafiq started off his title challenge beating Dhruv Sarda of India 289-252 in the first round, before eliminating Hong Kong’s Oscar Poon 240-199 in the second round.

In the semi-finals Rafiq bested the Philippines’ Enzo Hernandez 267-229 in the knockout format tournament.

Tun Hakim, on the other hand, beat compatriot Hafiz Zainuddin 257-228 in the first round before eliminating Saudi Arabians Adel Al Barqi (256-255) and Sari Jazaeri (211-137).

Meanwhile, lady luck was not in favour of Malaysia in the women’s event, as Nora Lyana Nastasia Norkamal lost to Lara Posadas-Wong of the Philippines 171-203 in the final.

Nora Lyana had earlier eliminated Hong Kong’s Chan Shuk Han (246-202) in the first round, Mades Arles of the Philippines (247-178) in the second round and another home favourite, Gigi Leung, (277-226) in the semifinals.

The winners pocketed US$500 (RM2,057) while the second and third place finishers earned US$300 and US$150 respectively.

The third and final leg of 2019 ABF Tour is scheduled for Aug 18, a day after the 19th Chinese Taipei International Open from Aug 11-17.