25th August, Singapore: Daiya Saito of Japan denied Singapore a clean sweep of the Masters finals by defeating Aiman Lim of Singapore A to emerge as Boy's champion at the 22nd Asian Junior Tenpin Bowling Championships while Lim Shi En of Singapore A successfully defended the Girl's Masters title.
Saito, who made the stepladder finals as top seed from the earlier Boy's Masters second block, edged challenger Lim, 202-196 for a 6-pin cushion in the first match. The Japanese two-hander started well in the second match with a double strike as Lim could not match his pace.
When Lim, the 18-year-old triple gold medallist failed to convert a spare in the fourth frame, Saito rolled a double strike again in the fifth and sixth frames to open up a big gap. Another double in the eighth and ninth frames sealed the tie for the 14-year-old Japanese, 213-197.
Lim put in a late charge knocking down four consecutive strikes from frame eight but had to settle for the silver medal. Lim had ousted third-seed, Seth Gray-Pendlebury of Australia A, 225-195 in the semi-finals in an attempt to give Singapore a clean sweep of the Masters event facing Saito in the title match but was bitterly disappointed with the loss.
The end to the second block Masters finals was a thriller. Saito had a big margin over his nearest rival and defeated Lim in the position round match to advance to the stepladder finals as top seed with 3587 and Lim in second on 3541.
The Australian fended off All-Events bronze medallist, Hassan Qasem of Kuwait A with a 244-195 victory to clinch third spot with 3523 to the Kuwaiti's 3491. First block leader, Blake Walsh of Austrlia A, who was at one stage in the top 3, ended up in fifth position despite beating Mitsuki Hirooka of Japan, 196-195 in the position round match.
Meanwhile, top seed, Lim Shi En successfully defended the Girl's Masters title she won last year in Bangkok with a 358-335 two-game total final against second-seed, Riria Hamasaki of Japan for Singapore's eighth gold medal and her fourth in the championships.
The first game was a nervy affair as both title contenders struggled on the lanes but Lim narrowly beat Hamasaki, 168-162 for a 6 pins cushion in the opening match. In the second match, Lim finally got going and was able to fair much better despite an early open frame.
Two consecutive open frames by the Japanese sealed the faith as Hamasaki went down, 173-190 to the Singaporean. Hamasaki who took home her third silver medal, had earlier trashed compatriot, Kiri Watanabe, 243-172 in an all-Japan semi-final match to face Lim.
The champion had ended the second block Masters finals with 3362, a comfortable 74 pins over Hamasaki in second with 3331 and Watanabe in third with 3288. Singles bronze medallist, Lavina Kho Jia Jie of Malaysia A, who was in the top 3 most the the block, missed the stepladder finals with 3285 despite beating Watanabe, 222-192 in the position round match.
Singapore emerged as overall champion at the championships with a medal haul of 8-2-0. Japan finished second with 1-5-3 and Australia third with 0-1-2. Singapore also emerged as overall girls champion with 4-0-0 medal haul.
Singapore capped off an outstanding performance when they also emerged as overall boys champion with 4-2-0 medal haul. Guest of Honour, Honorable Mr Eric Chua, Senior Parlamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development was on hand to present the medals to the winners.
Mr Andrew Koh, Vice President and Head of Singapore Operations Group, Canon Singapore Pte Ltd gave away the mascots to the winners. The ABF flag was handed over by Dr Valerie Leo, President of SBF to Dr Danny Santos who in turn handed over to Mr Maradona Chok, Secratary General of MTBC, the next host of the Junior Tenpin Bowling Championships in 2024.
Singapore Bowling Federation closed the championships with a victory banquet held at the centre for guests, participants and team officials. 80 boys and 49 girls from 13 countries took part in the week long championships.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Singapore.
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