30th October, Kuwait: Topseed, Esther Cheah of Malaysia and third-seed, Du Jianchao of China captured the prestigious Women's and Men's Masters gold medals at the concluding 25th Asian Tenpin Bowling Championships on Wednesday.
Cheah gave Malaysia its first-ever victory in the Women's Masters after she defeated third-seed and defending champion, Jung Dawun of Korea, 452-445 over the two-game total pinfalls title match. The 33-year-old Cheah, who topped both the first and second blocks over the two-day finals, narrowly edged Jung, 208-201 in the first match.
In the second match, Jung had an unlucky break when she suffered a split in the third frame. Cheah also suffered the same faith in the fifth frame which gave a slight edge to the Korean challenger after she recovered with a double in the fourth and fifth frames.
But the Malaysian drew level after she rolled strikes in the eighth and ninth frames. Jung ended first with two strikes in the ninth and tenth frames for a 244 game and Cheah also struck in the tenth frame to tie the match.
Cheah's 7 pin lead from the first match was enough to seal victory and created history for her country by becoming the first female to win the coveted Masters crown. In the earlier all-Korean semi-final match, Jung ousted second-seed, Baek Seungja, 245-244 to face Cheah in the final.
The champion won five of the eight matches contested earlier today with 4059 pinfalls to advance to the stepladder finals as topseed. Baek finished second with 4001 from seven wins while Jung beat All Events gold medallist, Lee Nayoung, 256-246 in the position round match to clinch the third stepladder spot with 3954.
Lee won three and drew one to missed the stepladder finals in fourth with 3945. A fourth Korean, Lee Yeonji completed the top five with 3902. Singapore's Ilya Syamim, who was second in the first block, ended in seventh.
Cheah's victory and a third gold medal for Malaysia was not enough to topple Korea to the Women's overall champion crown. Korean women won 3 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze medals while Malaysia won 3 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze medals.
In the men's division, third-seed and Doubles gold medallist, Du Jianchao defeated topseed, Lin Pai-Feng of Chinese Taipei, 491-455 in the all-spinner gold medal final match to give China their second gold medal at the championships.
The last time China won the Masters gold was when Zheng Ye triumphed in Hong Kong at the 17th Asian Championships in Hong Kong. Ironically, Zheng was on hand as a coach guiding Du to victory. Du advanced to the final with victory over second-seed, Shusaku Asato of Japan, 256-234 in the semi-finals.
The champion, who was second after the 15th match, survived the cut for a spot in the stepladder finals after beating leader, Lin 231-224 in the position round as Asato, who was fourth, outclassed two gold medallist, Timmy Tan of Malaysia, 265-200 to advance as second-seed.
Lin retained top spot after two blocks with five wins and 3980 pinfalls. Asato and Du ended with 3903 and 3880 respectively.
Top Korean left-hander, Choi Bokeum missed the cut for the stepladder finals by 28 pins for fourth with 3852. Tan rounded out the top five with 3835. Du's win in the Masters finals gave China a medal haul of 2-1-1. Malaysia ended with 3 gold and 1 silver medal to take the Men's overall champion title. Malaysia had the best-ever Asian Champioships with 6 gold, 1 silver and 4 bronze medals to emerge as the overall champion team.
Korea finished second overall with a haul of 3-4-4 while China finished third. Hong Kong was the only other country to win a gold medal with victory in the Men's 5-Player Team event two days ago. Sheikh Talal Mohammed Al-Sabah, President of World Bowling and ABF was on hand to award the medals to the Masters winners.
A closing ceremony, hosted by Kuwait Bowling Federation at Crown Plaza Hotel, saw the awarding of the top 3 Asian ranked men and top 3 Asian ranked women for 2016 and 2017. 2017 top 3 women were Jung Dawun (KOR), Baek Seungja (KOR) and Esther Cheah (MAS).
2017 top 3 men were Michael Mak (HKG), Rafiq Ismail (MAS) and Kim Bolelby (THA). Siti Safiyah Amirah (MAS), Sin Li Jane (MAS) and Jung Dawun (KOR) were the top 3 women in 2017. Wu Hao-Ming (TPE), Rafiq Ismail (MAS) and Ahmad Muaz (MAS) were the top 3 men in 2017.
A flag handing-over ceremony was held at the closing ceremony during which host, Kuwait handed the Asian Championship flag to Hong Kong, China, which will host of the 26th Asian Tenpin Bowling Championships 2020.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Kuwait.
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