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Imai trumps Mai to win gold in Women’s Singles at World Bowling Championships


Futaba Imai of Japan defeated Mai Ginge Jensen of Denmark, 191-163, to start the 2017 World Bowling Championships for men and women with victory in women’s singles, Monday morning at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas.

Pictured above from left: Mai Ginge Jensen, Futaba Imai, Chan Shuk Han and Hong Haeni together with their coaches.

In her World Championship debut the 21-year-old right-hander (left) met one of the most experienced athletes in the 176-player field, Jensen, a 33-year-old right-hander, who has won the gold medal in all-events at the 2011 Women’s World Championships in Hong Kong.

The gold medal match was close for the first six frames as both players had a one doubles and one open. When Jensen (right) suffered back-to-back open frames in the seventh and eighth, Imai pulled away with strike-spare-strike.

Finishing first, Jensen was unable to strike in her last two frames which handed the match to before Imai’s final frame.

It was the first individual gold medal (left) for a Japanese woman in the history of the World Championships and the first for Japan since 1991 in Singapore, where Tomoko Hatanaka and Kumiko Inatsu won gold in doubles.

Imai, who averaged 220 over the six-game preliminaries to earn the no. 2 seed for the medal round, faced multiple Asian ranking champion Chan Shuk Han (right) of Hong Kong in the semi-finals.

Han, a 45-year-old right-handed spinner, who defeated Jensen in a one-ball roll-off for third and fourth place, had chance to shut out Imai after the Japanese failed to convert a split in her ninth frame.

Han got the first strike but left one pin standing in the 10th frame. She converted the spare and got a strike on the fill ball to force Imai to mark in the 10th frame. The 21-year-old showed nerves and left the 3-6-10 combination, which she finally converted from the left side to escape with a 213-207 win.

Jensen met top-seeded Hong Haeni (left), a 23-year-old south paw from South Korea in the other semi-final match. In her first appearance at a World Championship, Haeni fell behind after back-to-back open frames in the seventh and eighth.

When Jensen closed with strike-spare-strike for 207, the Korean had a chance to win the match with three strikes and a seven-count. She got the strike in the ninth and the first in the 10th but the next shot went to high and left three pins standing, which handed the match to Jensen.

The women’s competition continues Tuesday with the doubles preliminaries and finals.

The World Bowling Championships for men and women will be held from Nov. 25 through Dec. 4 at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.

The Championships will award medals in six disciplines in each division – singles, doubles, trios, team, all-events and masters.

Bowlingdigital will provide onsite coverage of the combined World Championships including reports, photos and results after each round commencing with women’s singles preliminaries on Saturday, Nov. 25, all the way through to masters match play on Monday, Dec. 4, completed in the late afternoon.

World Bowling provides governance to international bowling and is made up of 134 bowling international federations. For more information on the World Bowling Tour, click here.

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2017 World Bowling Championships Preview

World Bowling Championships – Women’s Singles Finals

South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas, USA (Nov. 27, 2017)

Championship Round:
Gold: Futaba Imai, Japan, 404 (2 games)
Silver: Mai Ginge Jensen, Denmark, 370 (2 games)
Bronze: Hong Haeni, Korea, 198 (1 game)
Bronze: Chan Shuk Han, Hong Kong, 207 (1 game)

Playoff Results:
Semifinal Match 1: No. 4 Jensen def. No. 1 Haeni, 207-198
Semifinal Match 2: No. 2 Imai def. No. 3 Han, 213-207
Championship Match: Imai def. Mai, 191-163.

Herbert Bickel

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