Asean Para Games: Farhan strikes a social and competitive balance

S'pore bowler Muhammad Farhan Ismail with his family after winning the TPB4 gold at the APG. He bowls with his family occasionally and also hits the lanes with his former schoolmates.
S'pore bowler Muhammad Farhan Ismail with his family after winning the TPB4 gold at the APG. He bowls with his family occasionally and also hits the lanes with his former schoolmates.PHOTO: DONOVAN HO/SPORT SINGAPORE

He once aspired to be a bowling coach. While Muhammad Farhan Ismail has yet to reach his goal, the Singaporean certainly has achieved something no less significant.

He became a national bowler and yesterday added the title of Asean Para Games (APG) gold medallist to his growing resume.

The 25-year-old clinched his first APG medal by recording 1,270 pinfalls over six games in the TPB4 class, which is for athletes who have intellectual impairment.

Malaysian Syed Umar (1,207) was second while Farhan's compatriot Nixon Fan (1,185) was third.

Farhan took up the sport 12 years ago when he was a student at Tanglin Secondary School.

Outside of his job at Safran Landing Systems, he trains four times a week (two hours each session) with the national team.

He says his passion for the sport continues to grow and it is not difficult to see why.

Three times a month, he and his former schoolmates gather at the West Bowl bowling alley in Clementi where the group of five hits the lanes.

The alternative is a game of football. But it is clear where Farhan's preference lies.

"Bowling is my favourite sport because you can relax in the air-con and can challenge your friends with your scores while playing," he said.

"You can also bowl in any (weather) conditions."

For him, bowling is also an occasional family activity.

His parents, two brothers and younger sister have also been supportive of his efforts - even travelling to Kuala Lumpur to support him at Sunway Mega Lanes.

"When my family was behind me, I could hear them shouting and supporting me. I'm very happy that they came to Kuala Lumpur," he added.

"I'm very happy and proud to win and I'd like to thank my coach, my team manager and family for supporting me."

In the women's TPB4 event, Singapore's Diane Neo, 27, bagged the bronze medal after posting 863 pinfalls.

She finished behind Malaysians Nur Syazwani (1,015) and Eliyana Johari (927).

Fan, 24, said: "This medal and victory are for the supporters and for Team Singapore.

"The training totally paid off, along with all the coaches who guided me.

"It's my first medal and I'm proud of it. I'll be working towards the next APG."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2017, with the headline 'Farhan strikes a social and competitive balance'. Print Edition | Subscribe