Sil­ver cheer for Soufi

New Straits Times - - Sport -

NATIONAL lawn bowler Soufi Rusli will be one to watch in the fu­ture af­ter his crack­ing run to the men’s World Cup fi­nal in War­illa, Aus­tralia yes­ter­day.

Al­though his barn­storm­ing dis­play was brought to a halt by de­fend­ing cham­pion Jeremy Henry, Soufi may just turn out to be a wor­thy suc­ces­sor to for­mer world bowls cham­pion and World Cup win­ner Sa­fuan Said.

Soufi served no­tice of his po­ten­tial when he reached the semi-fi­nals of the World Sin­gles Cham­pion of Cham­pi­ons tour­na­ment last Novem­ber in his first ma­jor in­ter­na­tional event.

He con­tin­ued his fine per­for­mance in War­illa de­spite an open­ing day de­feat to Henry in the pre­lim­i­nary round.

Soufi re­cov­ered to win nine of his 12 matches be­fore de­feat­ing New Zealand’s for­mer world out­door cham­pion Ali Forsyth 9-2, 11-6 in the semi-fi­nals yes­ter­day morn­ing.

“The win in the morn­ing gave me the con­fi­dence to try to do bet­ter in the fi­nal,” said Soufi at the War­illa Bowls and Re­cre­ation Club. “But ev­ery­one knows that Henry is a true cham­pion who knows how to close out matches.

“I al­ready had the sil­ver in hand and I wanted to take home the gold medal for the coun­try and my fam­ily. But I will re­turn home now to work on my weak­nesses.”

Aus­tralian Henry lifted the World Cup ti­tle for a fifth time in six years with a 6-5, 11-2 win over Soufi, who was mak­ing his de­but in the an­nual tour­na­ment.

Soufi was bid­ding to be­come the first Malaysian win­ner of the men’s ti­tle since Sa­fuan won in 2008.

Vet­eran bowler Nor Hashimah Is­mail, more ac­com­plished in the fours and triples, pro­duced a sur­prise run to the semi-fi­nals, where the 45-year-old’s tour­na­ment was ended by New Zealand’s Jo Ed­wards 10-2, 9-5 on Tues­day to set­tle for a bronze medal.

Jo went on to de­feat Lucy Beere of Guernsey 8-5, 2-9, 4-1 in the fi­nal yes­ter­day for her fifth World Cup ti­tle.

Siti Zalina Ah­mad re­mains the only Malaysian to have won the women’s ti­tle in 2015.

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