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24th Malta Open Championships
Slow Motion Video
Ishimoto (pictured left) doubled in the 10th frame to shut out Sanna Pasanen, 20, of Finland in the girls final en route to win the third gold medal of the Championships for Japan with a 208-191 victory.
In a unique boys’ final between two two-handed lefties, Svensson (right) took revenge for a semifinal loss in Singles against Wesley Low, 16, United States, who was looking for his third gold medal.
Svensson needed a double in the 10th frame to beat the All-Events and Team gold medalist and delivered three consecutive strikes for a 238-227 win.
The semifinal and championship matches were recorded for tape-delay broadcast on Hong Kong TV but bowling fans were able to watch the action live on BowlTV.
The 3 hours 45 minutes show started with the girls semifinals and were followed by the boys’ semifinal, the girls and the boys title match. As in the entire Masters competition, the left lane was dressed with the 45 feet ‘long’ Mexico City pattern and the right lane was dressed with the 35 feet ‘short’ Beijing pattern.
Top-seeded Ishimoto and No. 4 seed, Daria Kovalova (right), 19, of Ukraine kicked off the championship round on lanes 35 and 36. Both players marked in the first three frames. Ishimoto took a slim lead after the 2012 European Champions Cup winner suffered a big split in the fourth which resulted in an open frame.
Ishimoto widened her lead with a double in her fourth and fifth frame. Kovalova did not strike on the right lane (short oil) in the whole match and Ishimoto bowled a clean game to eliminate her opponent 196-180.
The second match between two 20-year-old members of Northern European bowling powerhouses Sweden and Finland was a one-sided affair. Sweden’s Jenny Wegner (left), who has won silver in the four-player Team event and a bronze medal in Singles, never got lined up and opened five times in the first seven frames.
Reigning European Champions Cup winner Sanna Pasanen (right), Finland, led from the beginning and widened her lead to 50 pins. She doubled in the fifth and sixth and despite an open in the seventh frame (4-6-7 split), Pasanen easily advanced to the title match, 188-136.
Though the two girls’ finalists had to wait until the boys’ semifinals were over, Pasanen carried the momentum into the title match and started with two strikes to take the early lead. Ishimoto, one of the best spare-shooters in the 96-player field from 29 countries, spared a 7-pin and leveled the match with a double in the second and third frame.
Pasanen went spare, strike, spare to hold a two-pin lead after five frames. Ishimoto spared a 10-pin and had no problem with the double-wood (2-8) in frame four, but then she left the 2-4-10 split in the fifth. Very much to the delight of the Japanese team right behind her and the entire audience, Ishimoto calmly spared the split and this proved to be the difference maker.
Pasanen almost left a 7-10 spilt in her sixth frame but got away with it as the 10 fell late. The spare was followed by another two single-pin spares which was matched by Ishimoto, who was still two behind but running out frames.
In the 9th frame, Pasanen got a bad break and suffered a pocket 7-10 split which resulted in an open frame. Ishimoto, finishing first, spared a 4-pin in frame 9, and as Pasanen could get maximum 201, needed two strikes and one pin in the 10th to shut her out.
The 16-year-old delivered two solid strikes on the short pattern and – with tears in her eyes – knocked down seven pins to capture her second gold medal after winning the Team event. (pictured right are Japan’s coaches Yoshiyuki Arai and Kazumori Shimoji (l-r) with manager Nabuo Sakoguchi in the row behind)
The boys’ playoffs started with an all-U.S. semifinal match with an all-Swedish encounter to follow. As the higher seed, Wesley Low (left) decided that he would start the match against his teammate Kamron Doyle, 16, on lane 35 and that proved to be the match winner.
Low started with a strike on long oil followed by the first of seven strikes on the short pattern (lane 36). Doyle, the youngest bowler to shoot an 800 series (11 years, 60 days old in 2009) and to cash in a PBA event (12 years old in 2010) followed a spare by three consecutive strikes to take a 20-pin lead as Low alternated 9-spares on lane 35 and strikes on lane 36 until he missed a 10-pin in the seventh.
Doyle (right) followed the three-bagger with four consecutive spares but Low rebounded from the split with two strikes in the 8th and 9th frame to narrow the gap to 14 pins. Finishing first, Doyle had a chance for a shut out with maximum 231 to Low’s potential 227.
The right-hander struck in the ninth and on the first ball in the 10th but when he left a 7-pin on his second ball, the door was open for Low.
Finishing on his favorite pattern (he rolled the lone 300 game of this Championships in the second block of the Team event on short oil – watch the last two shots here) Low delivered three clutch strikes and went seven for seven on the right lane to beat Doyle, 227-220.
The second semifinal final match between top-seed Jesper Svensson and No. 4 Pontus Andersson went in a similar way. Svensson struck on all five shots on the right lane and had only one open when he failed to convert a 6-8 split in the 8th frame.
Andersson (right), 18, who won the gold medal in Doubles with Markus Jansson against Doyle and Matt Farber, opened in frames 1 (2-8) and 3 (2-4-10) to fall behind early. As Andersson got only one double in frames five and six, he was unable to put pressure on Svensson, who needed to mark in his last frames to seal the win. Svensson finished with strike-spare-strike to put the match away, 206-195.
The title match between the two two-handed lefties was a real thriller, but not right from the start. While Svensson opened in the first frame, (6-8), Low reeled off four consecutive strikes to pull away early. On his next five shots, however Low got only one strike in the sixth but left four different singles pins 3, 7, 6, and 5) in the others.
Svensson narrowed the gap to 21 pins with three consecutive strikes. A 3-pin in the seventh frame stopped his run but the Swede added another doubles in frames 8 and 9 to put a lot of pressure on the American.
Finishing first, Low needed strikes to force Svensson to do the same. He got the first but left a 10-pin on the second ball. He got the spare which forced the Swede to double for the win. The two-time European Bowling Tour champion including the famous Ballmaster Open in Finland, went off the sheet for a 238-227 win.
The victory banquet, slated for 7 p.m. at Panda Grand Ballroom, Panda Hotel, will conclude the 13th World Youth Championships. The 14th World Youth Championships will be held from July 15-24, 2016, in Lincoln, Neb., United States.
In cooperation with the Asian Bowling Federation (ABF) and the Hong Kong Tenpin Bowling Congress, Bowlingdigital.com will cover the Championships live from Hong Kong.
The United States Bowling Congress is working in cooperation with the host federation, the Hong Kong Tenpin Bowling Congress, to provide live streaming on BowlTV.
This World Youth Championships is made possible by title sponsor, The Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society World, and co-sponsors Chancellor Precious Metals, Fine Metal Asia Limited, Glory Sky and Safe Gold Bullion Limited as well as Watsons Water and Mr. Juicy, the Official Drink Sponsor of the event.
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SCAA Bowling Center, Hong Kong, China (August 15, 2014)
1. Mirai Ishimoto, Japan
2. Sanna Pasanen, Finland
3. Jenny Wegner, Sweden, and Daria Kovalova, Ukraine
Semifinal Match 1: No. 1 Ishimoto def. No. 4 Kovalova, 196-180
Semifinal Match 2: No. 3 Pasanen def. No. 2 Wegner, 188-136
Championship: Ishimoto def. Pasanen, 208-171.
SCAA Bowling Center, Hong Kong, China (August 15, 2014)
1. Jesper Svensson, Sweden
2. Wesley Low, United States
3. Kamron Doyle, United States, and Pontus Andersson, Sweden
Semifinal Match 1: No. 2 Low def. No. 3 Doyle, 227-220
Semifinal Match 2: No. 1 Svensson def. No. 4 Andersson, 206-195
Championship: Svensson def. Low, 237-227.
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