MTBC ready to skip 2020 international meets

MALAYSIAN Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) is ready to forgo all international tournaments this year and focus on next year’s Asian Championship in Hong Kong due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

MTBC secretary-general Maradona Chok (picture) said all national bowlers agreed with the decision to set their sights on the Asian meet, which will be the first major international tournament for the national squad since the pandemic began in March.

“There are a few championships still on the calendar, for example the Sarawak Open (Nov 25-29) and Thailand Open, but we will not rush. We won’t compete for the sake of competing. We want to make sure it is safe for our athletes to compete as our priority is their health and safety.

“Looking at the situation around the globe, the pandemic is still far from over. As of now, the Asian Championship will be our priority. If we have to skip everything for that, we will do it,” he told Bernama during the national training session at the Sunway Mega Lanes in Sunway Pyramid, Selangor, yesterday.

The 26th Asian Championship, scheduled for July 4-14, has been postponed to Jan 15-25, 2021.

Chok also believes that even if they do not compete in any international tournaments for the rest of the year, the keglers’ performance and gameplay would not be affected very much “as there will still be monthly roll-offs for them to stay in shape”.

“If we can get the National Championship (to be confirmed), that will be good. At least we can see where the bowlers are in terms of performance,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chok said the MTBC had expected bowling to be excluded from next year’s SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam as “the sport is not popular there”.

“Of course we hope that bowling will still be included because that would at least give us something to look forward to. And it’s always special to represent the country in multi-sports Games. As it is, we are already not in the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. So, we are limited to just a few events,” he said.

Malaysia has appealed for 11 out of a total of 22 sports to be included in the Vietnam Games, including bowling.

The Vietnam SEA Games will be held from Nov 21 to Dec 2, 2021. — Bernama