Syafiq Ridhwan, a national bowler and an avid Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) student made Malaysia proud when he won the title of World Champion in AMF World Cup in December last year. He is the first Malaysian to ever claim the title since its first organization in 1965. Shafiq Ridhwan is in Germany at the moment for another international tournament, Brunswick Euro Challenge from 20-24th March 2013 but I managed to interview him a day before his flight to Germany. Now let us take a look at our National Hero’s profile before reading about Syafiq and his striking stories in bowling.
Syafiq Ridhwan’s Profile
Full name: Syafiq Ridhwan Abdul Malek
Birth date: 29th November 1986
Origin: Kuala Lumpur
School: Sek. Ren Keb. St. John (1) and Sek. Men St. John, Kuala Lumpur
Course in UPM: Bachelor of Science (Human Resource Development)
Faculty: Faculty of Educational Studies
Sport Idol: Tiger Woods
Best Achievement: World Champion of AMF World Cup in Poland, December 2012.
Syafiq is currently in his final semester and juggles both commitments as a student and a national athlete for almost six years. His initial target was to graduate in four years time but he had to defer his studies to prepare for SEA Games and Asian Games. Syafiq attends classes in the morning, practices bowling in the afternoon, goes to the gym in the evening and spends time with his wife, a UPM sweetheart at night, religiously every day.
“It is easy for an athlete like me in UPM because the lecturers are very considerate and they understand our situation very well. Each time my test or final examination clashes with my training schedule, I could always take the test at my own time and comfort”, said Syafiq who wishes to further his education in Master of Sports Management in UPM in the near future.
Syafiq figured out his potential in bowling right after joining a Sports Development Program by Majlis Sukan Negeri Selangor in Sunway Pyramid when he was in Form 3. On his first day there, the coach was not fond of him joining as he has no basics in the sports at all but right after the program ended in six months, he managed to improve his skills and stayed in the team. Syafiq mentions that there are seven levels in professional bowling; Single A, Double A, Triple A, National Youth, National Back Up and National Elite. He played in the Single A in Form 3 and took only one year to move from one stage to another, unlike some other bowlers.
His first international game was in Singapore, eight years ago and he managed to get to the final round. Since then he has won in several other tournaments such as silver medal in 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou and one gold, one silver and two bronze medals in 2011 SEA Games, Jakarta. When asked about his preparation for the tournament in Germany, he said that he goes for two hours of training everyday and cycle three times in a week to maintain his fitness level. Syafiq also sets that he should at least reach the step-ladder final in Germany and at least two medals for World Championship in Las Vegas if it is not gold.
Syafiq describes his winning in Poland last year as memorable because he had lost his luggage and bowling equipments at the airport. During the official practice there, he actually wore rented bowling shoes and balls but he managed to stay focus and think positively in order to not slip up during the game.
“Losing my luggage and bowling equipment was really something that I never expected to occur but I managed to pull through” said the 26 years old bowler. He added that his biggest supporters so far are his mother Puan Noraini Ismail and wife Noor Shafira Bt. Noor Rashid.
He also describes that bowling has changed him thoroughly and made him whoever he is right now as bowling teaches him to make the right decision and disciplines himself with training and tournament. Syafiq encourages parents out there to allow their kids to join various sports development program in each state as the training is free and there are coaches provided as well.
Shafiq Ridhwan; a tall but down to earth sports figure totally deserves the title of World Champion due to his persistence in bowling. He has the push that lets Malaysia tastes victory for the first time as a World Champion in the AMF World Cup, and Syafiq is definitely on top of the world. It is his love and passion that makes him bowl around the world, and we in UPM wish him for the best in studies and sports. Best of luck to Syafiq Ridhwan for Brunswick Euro Challenge in Germany and also World Championship in Last Vegas, August this year.