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Semifinalists set for Boys Singles at 2018 World Youth Championships

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The first day of competition has concluded at the 2018 World Bowling Youth Championships, and boys from four countries have claimed their spots in the singles semifinals.

Danylo Yatsko (right) of Ukraine set the pace Friday at Thunderbowl Lanes, averaging more than 245 on the way to a 1,472 six-game total.

The 18-year-old two-hander, who attacks the lane from the right side, earned the top seed for the bracket-style semifinals, which will be held Saturday afternoon following the conclusion of singles qualifying on the girls side.

The girls are scheduled to take the lanes for qualifying at 9 a.m. Eastern, and the boys semifinals and final will get underway at 1:30 p.m. EDT. The girls championship round, as well as both medal presentations, will follow.

Yatsko earned a semifinal matchup with No. 4 qualifier Abdulrahman Alkheliwi (left) of Saudi Arabia, who spent much of the final squad of the day in the spotlight.

After a slow start, Alkheliwi rolled games of 268, 300 and 264 to put himself in position to make the cut, and a double and seven pins in the last frame (featured photo) of his 197 finale kept him in the top four by a single pin with a 1,429 total.

The other boys semifinal will feature No. 2 Alfred Berggren (right) of Sweden (1,469) and No. 3 Georg Skryten of Norway (1,463), who rolled the first perfect game of the 2018 World Youth Championships in his final game Friday.

The 300 also was the first of Skryten’s bowling career and sixth in tournament history. When Alkheliwi achieved perfection hours later, it marked the first time there have been multiple 300s at the World Youth Championships.

Qatar’s Ghanim Aboujassoum also made a run at perfection Friday, before a 10 pin on his final offering left him with 299. The near-perfect effort came in his third game, and he finished the day with a 1,428 total, one pin below the cutline.

Sebastian Nunez (left) of Mexico, who was in fourth position after A squad, finished in sixth place with 1,418.

“It feels amazing to just bowl that well, and to get 300 at the end is an unbelievable feeling,” said Skryten (right), an 18-year-old right-hander whose previous high game was 299.

“I was fortunate to find a ball reaction that really matched the lanes, and then I kept throwing good shots. I feel like I have some momentum and a game plan, and I know what ball I need to throw, so it’s just about throwing good shots, so I can strike a lot.”

Junior Team USA’s first day on the 44-foot London oil pattern wasn’t as fruitful, but it did provide some insight and a foundation to build on during doubles and team competition later in the week.

World Youth Championships first-timer Jeffery Mann of West Lafayette, Indiana, started the day with a 279 game and led the way for Junior Team USA, finishing in ninth place with a 1,346 total, a 224.33 average.

Fellow tournament rookies Cortez Schenck of Phoenix (1,288) and Bryan Hahlen of Greenwood, South Carolina (1,258), finished singles tied for 29th place and tied for 43rd place, respectively.

Defending singles champion Wesley Low (left; photo USBC) of Palmdale, California, the only bowler from the United States using the left side of the lane, finished just inside the top 100 on Friday with a 1,144 total.

Friday’s singles was the first event in three trips to the World Youth Championships in which Low failed to earn a medal.

“Today, the lanes were kind of challenging, even though there were a lot of high scores, so I really don’t think I played them very well at all,” said Low, a five-time gold medalist at the World Youth Championships.

“I saw a lot of over-under ball reaction, and both Cortez and I are angry at ourselves for not bowling our best this afternoon, but at the end of the day, this isn’t about singles, it’s about the team event. We’ll definitely learn from this, get some rest and come in with a better plan for doubles.”

Low, who also the defending champion in doubles and is looking to lead the United States to a fourth consecutive team gold medal, got out to a good start Friday with games of 213 and 226 but struggled with how the lanes transitioned.

The competitors will be back on the lanes for doubles Sunday and Monday, and the coveted team titles will be on the line Tuesday and Wednesday. The event’s top performers will advance to Masters match play Wednesday and Thursday.

The 2018 World Youth Championships has brought more than 200 competitors from 37 countries to the Detroit area to bowl for medals in singles, doubles, team, all-events and Masters competition.

World Bowling is providing livestream coverage of the event, and bowling fans from around the globe will be able to watch the competition live from start to finish. Coverage will include all qualifying, semifinal and final rounds.

For more information on the 2018 World Youth Championships or to watch the livestream, click here.

Photos courtesy of Max Bulanov.

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15th World Bowling Youth Championships – Boys Singles

Players with position, country and 6-game total. Top 4 advance to the medal round.

300 games (2) – Georg Skryten, Abdulrahman Alkheliwi.

Herbert Bickel

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