It was the third victory in the Japan All-Star Championships for Sasaki and the first for reigning World Youth Masters champion Ishimoto.
The NHK Cup 50th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships, Japan’s most significant individual championships, were held from May 20-22 at Shinsayama Grand Bowl (pictured right), Sayama-Shi, Saitama-Ken, Japan.
Only previous champions, Japan national team and youth national team members, bowlers who have represented Japan in World Tenpin Bowling Association (WTBA) or Asian Bowling Federation (ABF) championships, prize winners of Japan Bowling Congress (JBC) championships and bowlers who have bowled more than 1,000 games in JBC sanctioned tournaments within the previous year are qualified for the event.
The men’s and women’s champions are considered the best amateur bowlers in Japan.
All players bowled nine games of qualifying with the top 40 men and the top 28 women advancing to the semifinals. Following another six games, the top 12 division leaders with the highest 15-game total qualified for the final round.
Those 12 bowled another six-game block to cut to the top four men and the top four women for the championship round. All four players bowled a one-game grand final elimination match with the top two players advancing to the championship match.
Both men’s & women’s championship matches were broadcasted live across the nation by NHK (Nihon Hoso Kyokai or Japan Broadcasting Corporation), the national broadcaster. The shows were re-broadcasted by NHK’s satellite TV a week later in two-hour program.
Men’s finalists: L-R Sasaki, Yoshida, Wada and Saito.
Sasaki rebounded with 236 game in the championship match to seal his victory well before the final frame as Yoshida managed only 158 and had to settle for second place.
Missing the cut to the TV finals were third-seeded Shion Izumune of Ehime with 201 and second-seeded Hikaru Takekawa of Gifu with 191, who finished in third and fourth place, respectively.
Women’s finalists: L-R Ishimoto, Takekawa, Izumune and Nojima.
In the women’s TV match, Ishimoto, who also won the tournament’s High Series Award rolled a solid 191 game to defeat Nojima, who managed 174.
The NHK Cup 50th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships was the 28th event since the Japan Broadcasting Corporation NHK granted the Cup.
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1. Tomoyuki Sasaki, Kanagawa, 428 (2 games)
2. Daisuke Yoshida, Aichi, 405 (2 games)
3. Shogo Wada, Wakayama, 189 (1 game)
4. Yuta Saito, Kanagawa, 144 (1 game)
Did not advance after 21 games:
5. Takayuki Torao, Aichi, 4,364
6. Yuta Takagi, Mie, 4,335
Grand Final Eliminator Match: No. 2 Yoshida (247), No. 1 Sasaki (192), No. 3 Wada (189), No. 4 Saito (144)
Yoshida and Sasaki advanced.
Championship Match: Sasaki def. Yoshida, 236-158
High Game Award: 300 – Sayato Takahira, Aichi
High Series Award: 769 – Yuhi Shinbata, Tokyo
1. Mirai Ishimoto, IBAJ, 396 (2 games)
2. Haruna Nojima, Shizuoka, 380 (2 games)
3. Shion Izumune, Ehime, 201 (1 game)
4. Hikaru Takekawa, Gifu, 191 (1 game)
Did not advance after 21 games:
5. Mitsuki Okamoto, Fukuoka, 4,230
6. Kana Shimoide, Chiba, 4196
Grand Final Eliminator Match: No. 4 Nojima (206), No. 1 Ishimoto (205), No 3 Izumune (201), No. 2 Takekawa (191)
Nojima and Ishimoto advanced.
Championship Match: Ishimoto def. Nojima, 191-174
High Game Award: 268 – Maki Nakano, Osaka
High Series Award: 692 – Mirai Ishimoto, IBAJ
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