The field is set for the boys and girls medal round in singles at the inaugural World Junior Bowling Championships at Plaza Bowling Saint Maximin, France, later today. The top 4 of 58 boys and 47 girls from 34 countries will determine the first ever gold medalists in the history of World Bowling.
Ji Geun (right) of Korea (1,516) and Victoria Kashirskaya (left) of Russia (1360) set the pace in Squad A yesterday, but the boys and girls standings got shaken up this morning as new leaders emerged in every event.
The Finnish boys and girls dominated the preliminaries as all four athletes advanced to the semi-finals. Pyry Puharinen (right), a 17-year-old two-handed right-hander, fired games of 244, 234, 256, 266, 254 and 267 on the 41-foot Montreal oil pattern by using World Bowling’s Current Frame Scoring system (see below) to overtake Squad A leader Geun by five pins and to earn the no. 1 seed for the medal round with 1,521 total and an average of 253.50.
Ji, a 17-year-old lefty, finished second with 1,516 (252.67), including a high game of 278 and a pair of 277s, and was the lone bowler of squad A, who survived the qualifying cut.
There was a bigger gap between second and third place. Maximiliano Lopez (left) of Mexico started with a low game of 200 and high game of 278 and added 238, 265, 235 and 242 to grab third place with 1,459 (243.17).
Jesse Ahokas (right), like Lopez a 17-year-old right-hander, closed his series with back-to-back 245 games to beat out Hugo Bonnefoy from the host country France for the last spot to advance by two pins, 1,398 to 1,396.
Puharinen and Ahokas, who won the gold medal in doubles at the 2018 European Youth Championships in Aalborg, Denmark, will clash in the semi-final stating at 18.00 CET, while Ji and Lopez will square off in the other semifinal match.
Puharinen, Ji and Lopez automatically took the lead in all-events (total pinfall in singles, doubles and mixed team event). Puharinen set new Championship records for three (787) and six games (1,521), while Artemijs Hudjakovs of Latvia still holds the record for one game (279).
On the girls’ side, all four spots for the medal round went to B Squad bowlers. 14-year-old Arianne Tay (left) of Singapore earned the no. 1 seed when she rebounded from a 184 opening game with 244, 268, 265, 246 and 200 to become the lone girl, who surpassed the 1,400 mark with 1,407 total and an average of 234.50, also by using the Current Frame Scoring system.
Mila Nevalainen (right) of Finland, another 14-year-old right-hander, started with 231, 232 and 223, but dropped out of the top 4 due to a 194 in game four. She climbed into eight place with 241 and leaped six spots thanks to a huge 268 last game to earn the no. 2 seed with 1,389 and an average of 231.50.
Nevalainen overtook team mate Peppi Konsteri (left) by two pins. Konsteri, 15, who had six games between 214 and 258, took third place with 1,387 (231.17) and will meet her compatriot in the semi-final match.
Grace Gella (right) of the Philippines is the only southpaw in the girls’ finals. After a solid start the 18-year-old averaged over 240 for the last three games (245, 235 and 241) to overtake A Squad leader Kashirskaya, 15, by 16 pins, 1,374 to 1,360. Gella will meet Tay in the other semi-final match.
Kashirskaya, who retained the Championship records for one (277) and three games (728), slipped all the way out of the medal round to fifth place. Tay set the bar for six games and automatically leads the 47 girls in all-events.
Prior to the Singles finals, action shifts to the Boys and Girls Doubles Squad A, which will be contested from 14.00 to 17.30.
The young athletes, age 18 and under, at the 1st World Junior Bowling Championships compete for medals in five disciplines – singles, doubles, mixed team, all-events and masters from March 18-23.
The first three events each feature six games of preliminaries, with the top four in each division advancing to their respective semifinals. Gold, silver and bronze all-events medals will be awarded in each division based on 18-game pinfall totals, and the top 24 girls and top 24 boys will advance to the masters portion of the event.
All of the preliminaries and semifinals will be held at 28-lane Plaza Bowling in Saint-Maximin, France, about 40 miles outside of the capital city of Paris, with the addition of the singles finals. All other gold medal matches will be contested on a special two-lane installation inside the Judo Institute in the center of Paris, and seating will be available for perhaps 1,000 people.
The World Junior Bowling Championships will be livestreamed by World Bowling and there will be full television broadcast of the championship matches, which will air on global commercial channels and the Olympic Channel in other areas. All medal ceremonies, including singles, will also be conducted at the Judo Institute between the matches.
For more information about the 2019 World Junior Championships, click here.