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Slovenia, Malta capture men’s and women Doubles gold in Ljubljana


Aleksander Koštric and Anže Grabrijan captured the first gold medal for the host country Slovenia while Sue Abela and Sara Xuereb earned the second gold medal for Malta in men’s and women’s doubles at the 2017 Mediterranean Bowling Championships Wednesday at Klub 300 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The gold medalists in Doubles from left to right: Aleksander Koštric, Sara Xuereb, Sue Abela and Anže Grabrijan.

The Slovenians, who finished second and fourth in singles yesterday, averaged 211.58 over six games, including 434, 421, 450, 444, 387 and 403 to lead the field from 13 countries with 2539 total. 2015 MBC Masters champion Grabrijan led the team with 1290 and singles silver medalist Koštric added 1249.

Singles gold medalist Valentin Saulnier and bronze medalist Gaetan Mouveroux of France were 57 pins behind to take the silver medal with 2482 (206.83). Saulnier matched his 1335 score from singles and Mouveroux contributed 1147.

Heading into the last game defending champion Italy (1999), Malta (1996) and Greece (1977) were within 22 pins in the battle for third place. Marco Reviglio and Pierpaolo De Filippi closed with 432 to secure the bronze medal with 2431 (202.58).

Evangelos Krizinis, a three time gold medalist in the 2016 MBC (singles, mixed doubles and all-events), and Ioannis Stathatos toppled 448 pins but fell six pins short to finish in fourth place with 2425. Malta’s Mark Spiteri and Justin Caruana Scicluna had to settle for fifth place with 2416.

Saulnier, the only player who surpassed the 1300-mark in this tournament so far, holds a comfortable 138-pin lead as the all-events competition (total pinfall in singles, doubles, mixed doubles and mixed team event) has reached the halfway mark.

Saulnier leads the field of 26 men with 2670 total and an average of 222.50 with Grabrijan and Koštric in second and third place with 2532 and 2508, respectively. Defending champion Krizinis is 21 pins off the pace for the medals in fourth place with 2487, while Mouveroux is fifth with distant 2395.

On the women’s side, singles champion Sue Abela teamed with Sara Xuereb to win the second gold medal for Malta in this Championships with 2330 total and an average of 194.17.

Abela, the only athlete who participated in all 20 editions, is the MBC’s all-time title leader with now 35 gold metals (9 in singles, 8 in doubles, 3 in team, 10 in masters and 5 in all-events). Abela toppled 1164 pins and Xuereb, who won the gold medal in Masters at the Small Nations Cup in San Marino ten days ago, added 1166 pins.

Trailing the Maltese by 98 pins to land in second place were singles bronze medalist Alexandra Lopes D’Andrade and Amelie Keloganian of France, who joined forces for 2232 (186.00) to earn the silver medal.

After a slow start, defending doubles champion Italy with Sara Giustini and Simona Pia Maria Fasol rolled five games between 372 and 386 to leap into third place and to take the bronze medal with 2229 (185.75).

Victoria Krivolutskaya and Nataša Pirc Musar of Slovenia suffered a low game of 347 in the last game to fall from second all the way out of the medals to fourth place with 2224. Giola Pastou and Myria Kastori of Cyprus, who led halfway through the six-game block, ended up in fifth place with 2197.

Abela widened her lead in all-events to 171 pins with 2455 total and an average of 204.58 for 12 games, out averaging her nearest competitors by more than 14 pins. Pastou and Lopes D’Andrade are tied for second place with 2284 (190.33) and were followed by singles silver medalist Lidia Serrano of Spain, who slipped from second to fourth place with 2281.

Krivolutskaya is 21 pins off the pace for the medals in fifth place with 2263 while Xuereb leaped into sixth place with 2246.

Action at the Mediterranean Bowling Championship shifts to mixed doubles on Thursday. The 24 teams will be split in two squads. Group A takes to the lanes at 10 a.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST) and Group B will follow at 2.30 p.m.

The 20th Mediterranean Bowling Championships 2017 (formerly the Mediterranean Challenge Cup) will be held from March 27 through April 1 at Klub 300, a 16-laner in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It marks the second time after the year 2013 that Ljubljana and Slovenia host the MBC.

The Championships drew 50 bowlers 26 men and 24 women, from 13 countries, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, San Marino, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the host country Slovenia. Each country will be represented by a team of two female and two male competitors, except Gibraltar which participates in the men’s division only.

Men and women will compete in separate divisions for gold, silver and bronze medals in Singles, Doubles, All Events and Masters as well as in Mixed Doubles and a Mixed Team event.

The 21st Mediterranean Bowling Championships will be held April 15-22, 2018 at Rollhouse Bowling Center in Ankara, Turkey.

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Herbert Bickel

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