PALEMBANG: National men's bowler, Rafiq Ismail has become the first Malaysian to clinch the men's bowling masters gold medal in the Asian Games when he was victorious in the masters stepladder final at Jakabaring Bowling Centre, here today.
The 21-year-old kegler was patient and calm in the tense final to defeat defending champion Park Jong-woo of South Korea 534-511.
The bronze medal went to another South Korean, Koo Seonghoi, who lost to his compatriot 245-254 in the semi-final.
Rafiq had earlier progressed to the stepladder final after downing 3,995 pinfalls in 16 frames.
In the first block yesterday, the southpaw was placed sixth with 1,889 pinfalls before making a brilliant comeback in the medium oil today to book a berth in the stepladder final.
Meanwhile, another Malaysian, Syafiq Ridhwan Abdul Malek, could only muster the eighth place after scoring 3,796 pinfalls after the second block.
Last Thursday, Rafiq delivered a silver medal in the trio event with Ahmad Muaz Fishol and Timmy Tan Chye Chern.
The previous best achievement by a Malaysian in the event was the fifth placing by Alex Liew in the 2006 edition in Doha and 2010 edition in Guangzhou.