24 April 2020
Ismail Hussain is a bowler defying visual impairment.
Ismail was working at the bowling alley at the National Service Resort & Country Club (NSRCC), when he was approached by Coach Frances to join the trials. Before he started bowling in 2010, Ismail was not aware of the disability sports scene in Singapore and Frances offered him an opportunity that he could not decline.
By the time Ismail had started bowling, he was already married. His wife and his family expressed concerned about how training might affect his work. Ismail, however, was ready to put in the extra effort to balance his work and training. With the support and understanding of his employers, he was able to shift his schedule around to continue his training.
A loving husband and father of three, Ismail makes sure that his family is well taken care of before he leaves for his competitions. This puts his mind at ease and allows him to focus solely on what’s before him.
In 2018, Ismail participated in the PBF 2nd Philippine International Open, an able-bodied competition, in Manila. Initially, he joined the competition to get a sense of how the able bodied bowlers play. He admitted that he was out of breath as the able bodied player moved at a faster pace and the format was slightly different from para bowling. However, he managed to wow the crowd with his skills, especially after they found out he was visually impaired. Ismail eventually made the finals and could hold his head high. This experience taught him that bowling was not just about the skill, but also about mental fortitude.
Despite the tremendous success in his sport, Ismail remains down-to-earth. Sport taught Ismail to be grateful for what he has, instead of focusing on the things he doesn’t. It also taught him the importance of hard work and perseverance. Bowling has given Ismail plenty of opportunities to shine and travel. Now, Ismail aims to maintain his steady performance and continue to remain as one of the top para bowlers in Singapore, while inspiring the next generation to pick up bowling as a sport.
1. What is your sporting dreams or goals?
One of my sporting dreams is to one day become a Coach when I’m no longer competing & contribute back all my experiences/knowledge in para sports.
2. How are you working towards achieving it?
At this moment, I’m not really thinking about it. My hunger to win & bring glory for Singapore is still burning. But in the long term, I do foresee having to take up relevant courses to upgrade myself before transition in becoming a Coach.
3. Who are the people you’d like to thank for your sports journey so far?
There are countless people that i want to extend my heartfelt thank you whom have given me opportunities & supporting me on my sports journey in one way or another especially the team from SDSC SSI & BADS. All this also wouldn’t be possible without the persistence encouragement from my loved ones, my family.
4. How has sport changed your life?
Sports has changed & impacted me greatly in many ways throughout my life. It has gained me many valuable life lessons like respect, persistence & hard work. Not only that, it taught me to be a better person as a father as I learned that sports also bonds the family closer.
5. How can Singaporeans show more support for para sports?
I think Singaporeans have done great in showing support for para sports in many ways especially when they came forward during localised games to root for the athletes. Perhaps one area I feel could be emphasized more is to have live telecast coverage during major games.
6. What does #DefyLimits mean to you?
The way I see it is the ability to overcome adversity like no other. Where others see fear, I see symbolism of what I want, and just go for it. Persevere to excel.
7. Words of advice for persons with impairments who have not tried out sports/want to try sports?
Never DISQUALIFY yourself. In life there is no such things as impossible. IT’S ALWAYS POSSIBLE!
8. How are you staying positive and keeping fit, despite the current COVID-19 situation?
With the recent suspension of training till end April, home based training plans have been carefully planned for me by my coaches so that I can still train & keep myself in shape. Being at home, means I would have more quality time with my family, especially my kids.
Defy Limits is SDSC’s fundraising campaign for 2020. We can all help athletes with impairments to defy limits – through words of encouragement, acts of kindness, direct monetary contributions or lending your voice to cheer – every little bit counts.
Help athletes like Ismail to defy limits by donating here: http://bit.ly/SDSCDefyLimitsCampaign