13th December, Petaling Jaya: Third-seed, Azriq Izam of Malaysia had to beat topseed twice to win the Boy's Open Masters title of the 20th Storm U22 International Junior All-Stars 2019 while Korean topseed, Yoo Da Yeong needed a second match to clinch the Girl's crown.
Azriq had forced the topseed into a second deciding match after easily defeating Muhammad Syazirol, 226-189 in the all-Malaysian final. In the decider, Azriq got off superbly with four strikes-in-a-row while Syazirol doubled in his first two frames and marked his next two frames.
When Syazirol suffered a split in the fifth frame, Azriq doubled in the sixth and seventh frames to take a commanding lead of 44 pins. Another split by Syazirol sealed his faith and Azriq went on to claim his first international youth title with a 232-178 victory.
In the earlier semi-final match amongst second-seed, Matthew Ong of Malaysia, Azriq and fourth-seed Callum Borck of Australia, Ong and Azriq matched strides with a spare in their opening frame and a turkey each while Borck started well with three strikes-in-a-row.
The two Malaysians matched strides again with a strike each in their next the frame and the Aussie suffered a big split in his fourth frame. Azriq also suffered a split in the fifth frame as Ong added three more consecutive stikes to take a 30 pin lead.
Borck never recovered thereafter and when Ong failed to convert his spare in the eighth frame, Azriq took advantage of the opportunity and roll three strikes-in-a-row. Ong struck in the tenth frame but could not add another strike in the 11th frame. Azriq doubled in the tenth and 11th frames to clinch victory, 244-242-204.
Azriq picked up the top prize of RM25,000 (approx. US$6,000) as champion while Syazirol, who topped the earlier 10-games Masters finals with 2230, settled for RM15,000. Ong, who earned RM8,000 as second runner-up, finished second with 2190.
Azriq and Borck, who took home RM5,000 as third runner-up, finished third and fourth positions with 2185 and 2175 respectively. Wan Muhammad Naqib missed the stepladder cut by two pins finishing in fifth position with 2173.
In the Girl's Open division, topseed Yoo Da Yeong narrowly lost the first match, 245-255 to fourth-seed and winner of the semi-final, Chou Hyeonji in the all-Korean championship round. But Yoo bounced back brilliantly with an emphatic win over Choi, 225-133 to capture the Girl's crown.
Choi advanced the final after dispatching second-seed, Rio Watanabe of Japan and third-seed, Nur Syazwani Sahar of Malaysia, 204-157-188 in the semi-finals. Yoo, who topped the earlier finals with 2245, pocketed RM18,000 (approx. US$4,300) as champion.
Watanabe, who finished second with 2210, earned RM3,000 as third runner-up while Nur Syazwani, who was third with 2188, picked up RM5,000 as second runner-up. Choi, who clinched the fourth and final stepladder spot in fourth with 2148, took home RM10,000 as first runner-up.
Mr Kevin Tan Gar Peng, COO of Sunway IFM Sdn Bhd was on hand to give away the prizes which included trophies, bowling bags and bowling balls to the top 3 Boy's Open and Girl's Open Masters winners.
The 20th Storm U22 International Junior All-Stars 2019 Bowling Championships, which is one of the top youth bowling competitions in Asia, is sponsored by Storm and co-organized by the Storm-U22 Bowling and Sunway Megalanes.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.