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10th World Youth Bowling Championship Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Malaysia, Korea win Masters gold to close World Youth

24th July, Orlando: Korea's Jun Gwi Ae and Malaysia's Aaron Kong reached the pinnacle of youth bowling Thursday as they won Masters gold medals to close the 10th World Youth Championships at Boardwalk Bowl.

10th World Youth C'ship logo

Jun won a thrilling championship match, 3-2, against Mexico's Daniela Alvarado to earn the girls title while Kong swept the United States' Dean Richards, 3-0, in the boys final. Kong capped off an emotional two days, earning back-to-back gold medals in team event and Masters to write a successful ending to his youth bowling career.

"After winning the team gold, I was more relaxed and that's how I can bowl better," said Kong. "Both gold medals are satisfying because everyone on the team gets one and, of course, I wanted to win an individual title as well. We came here to win the team gold for Malaysia and everything else is a bonus."

Boy's Masters Gold
Aaron winning his first-ever world level individual title

Kong only shot games of 194, 191 and 204 in the championship match, but it was more than enough to beat Richards' 176, 166 and 181.

"I felt like I was pretty confident today and could make a run," said Richards, who entered the day as the No. 13 seed. "I just ran out of gas and energy in the end and just had bad ball reaction on the final pair."

In the girls finale, Jun went ahead 2-0 on wins of 209-206 and 206-192 before Alvarado mounted a comeback. Alvarado won a shootout in Game 3, 279-248, and stayed alive with a 207-203 win. Jun closed out the match with a 242-176 win to earn the title.

"I'm really happy that I won because I want to push myself so I can continuously improve," Jun said. "I didn't expect to leave with a gold medal, I just came here to get some experience at the world level."

Jun's run to the title included a tough battle in the opening round as she tied with Jasmine Yeong-Nathan of Singapore in the fifth and deciding game. In the one-ball, sudden-death tie-breaker, both players had strikes on their first two shots. Jun then got a seven count and Yeong-Nathan managed only six, allowing Jun her great run to the title.

Girl's Masters Gold
Jun Gwi Ae capturing the Girl's Masters gold

In the semifinals, Alvarado became the first girl to fire a 300 game in tournament history. She defeated Germany's Tina Hulsch, 3-1, highlighted by a 300-225 victory in Game 3.

"It was an incredible experience because it was my first 300 in a real event," Alvarado said. "My first thought after it happened was that I just shot 300 in front of the world and it was amazing."

The Masters closed out the 10th World Youth Championships, which saw a diverse number of countries take home medals. Fifteen of the 55 countries that competed earned at least one medal.

Daniela Alvarado
Daniela Alvarado shooting the tournament's historical 300

Korea's girls team dominated the medal tally, earning three gold medals (team, singles and Masters) and one bronze (doubles). On the boys side, England also came away with four medals, earning two golds (singles and all events), one silver (doubles) and bronze (Masters).

Story by Lucas Wiseman, USBC Communications and photos courtesy of Bowl.com.

Malaysia, Korea crowned team champions

23rd July, Orlando: The Malaysian boys took a dramatic victory while the Korean girls pulled away in the final frame as both countries earned team gold medals Wednesday in the 10th World Youth Championships.

10th World Youth C'ship logo

Needing a double in the tenth frame to secure its first team gold medal in tournament history, Malaysia's anchor bowler Aaron Kong delivered and locked up an 837-819 victory over Finland.

Korea was also put to the test in its championship match with Japan, but the Japanese threw three splits in the last frame to fall out of contention in an 805-741 loss.

Malaysia, which finished as the runner-up in the boys team event in 2004 and 2006, was led in the championship match by Kong's 253 game. Syafiq Ridhwan shot 232, Nur Aiman had 190 and Adrian Ang fired 162.

Boy's Team Gold
Adrian Ang, Nur Aiman, Aaron Kong and Syafiq Ridhwan

"The last frame I knew I needed at least two strikes to beat Finland," Kong said. "I just kept my cool and wanted to be sharp like normal. I tried to control my nerves with breathing exercises and thankfully I did it."

The Malaysians made the final frame a lot closer than it needed to be as Nur Aiman left a 4-6-7 split to start off the tenth frame and it was immediately followed by a pocket 4-9 split from Ridhwan. Ang then left a 2-8 and converted the spare to keep Malaysia in the match.

Finland was led by Juhani Tonteri's 226 game and he was followed by Magnus Lonnroth (222), Joonas Jehkinen (213) and Joonas Jahi (158).

Finland advanced to the finals by defeating the United States by just five pins in the semifinals, 819-814. Needing a mark to advance, American Matt O'Grady left the 3-4-6-7 split and failed to convert it sending the United States to a disappointing loss.

In the other boys semifinal, Malaysia defeated Norway, 876-845 to advance. With the losses, Norway and the United States shared the bronze medal.

In the girls gold medal match, Korea had just four open frames in their victory over Japan. Jun Gwi Ae led the Koreans with a 216 game while Lee Yeon Ji added 213, Park Mi Ran a 203 and Lee Hye Mi a 173. Each Korean bowler struck on their first ball in the tenth frame to lock up the victory.

For Japan, Rie Totsuka led with a 217 game and Maki Nakano shot 188. The other two players struggled down the stretch as Suzuna Miyagi had 167 and Maya Takemata shot 169.

The girls semifinal between Korea and Germany came down to the final frame as Tina Hulsch needed two strikes in the last frame for Germany to

Girl's Team Gold
Korea winning their second gold medal

advance, but her effort came up short in an 825-813 loss. Japan dominated the other girls semifinal, knocking off Singapore 821-692. Germany and Singapore shared the bronze medal.

In the girls all-events, Japan's Maki Nakano won the gold medal as she finished the 18 games (singles, doubles and team) with 3921, including a 1373 total in team event powered by a 279 in Game 4 to start Wednesday's play. Tannya Roumimper of Indonesia took silver with 3906 while Colombia's Rocio Restrepo earned the bronze with 3876.

Dominic Barrett of England easily won the gold medal in the boys all-events, finishing with a tournament record 4153 total for 18 games. Barrett's average of better than 230 a game topped the old record of 3982, set in 1992 by Qatar's Saeed Al-Hajri.

Joining Barrett on the medal stand will be Mads Sandbaekken of Norway, who took the silver with 1330, and Joonas Jehkinen of Finland won the bronze with 3926.

Girls's AE Gold
Maki Nakano topping the All Events to win the gold

The top 16 players in all-events advanced to the best-of-five, single-elimination Masters competition on Thursday.

Story by Lucas Wiseman, USBC Communications and photos courtesy of B.C. Cheah and Bowl.com.

Malaysia, Canada leads at halfway point

22nd July, Orlando: The Malaysian boys and Canadian girls rose to the top of the standings at the halfway point of Team event at the 10th World Youth Championships on Tuesday at Boardwalk Bowl.

10th World Youth C'ship logo

Malaysia finished with 2595 in the four-player event, good enough for a minuscule one-pin lead over the host United States. Finland was third with 2514 and Norway fourth at 2480.

Muhd Nur Aiman led the Malaysian boys with a 666 series followed by Syafiq Ridhwan (664), Aaron Kong (649) and Adrian Ang (616). Kong threw three strikes in the last frame to edge the United States by a pin.

"After I threw the first two strikes in the last frame, my manager told me I needed one more," said Kong, Malaysia's anchor bowler. "I didn't know how important it was, but I knew if he said I needed a strike that we must be close. It makes us feel good because we fought hard today. Whether we are the leaders by one pin or 10 pins, it boosts our confidence for the next day."

Malaysian Boys Team
Malaysia's Nur Aiman, Adrian Ang, Aaron Kong and Syafiq Ridhwan

The United States led after the first and second games Tuesday and just missed the lead. Dean Richards led the team with a 676 series and was trailed by John Szczerbinski (660), Adam Martinez (637) and Matt O'Grady (621).

"We struggled through singles and doubles, but we finally got everything going and it was awesome," Szczerbinski said. "I think we have a good chance to make some positive things happen and put some good numbers on the board so we can contend for a medal."

Canada soared into the girls lead in the final game, shooting 880 to overtake Malaysia with a total of 2484. Malaysia finished in second at 2461, Germany was third at 2455 and Singapore fourth with 2435.

The Canadian girls team rebounded after disappointing performances in singles and doubles. They were led by Jo-Ann Sanesac with a 666 series and she was followed by Jennifer Besana (646), Kodee Pilling (613) and Alyssa Cicconi (559).

"Now that there are four players on a lane instead of two like singles and doubles, I think the shot opened up and we were able to perform better because of that," Sanesac said. "I feel like I'll have a good shot tomorrow

Canadian Boys Team
Canada's Jo-Ann Sanesac, Kodee Pilling, Alyssa Cicconi and Jennifer Besana

on the short oil pattern, but it's a matter of how long it will last. If I make good shots like today, it will be no problem."

In Girl's All Events, Rocio Restrepo of Colombia used a 607 series in team event to keep hold of the lead with 3247. Indonesia's Tannya Roumimper is second with 3217, and Mexico's Sandra Gongora is just behind her at 3206.

England's Dominic Barrett maintained his lead in Boy's All Events by shooting a 642 series in team event. His 15-game total of 3465 has put him on the cusp of securing the gold medal in the event as he leads Mads Sandbaekken of Norway by 171 pins with just three games remaining.

The top 16 players in all-events after the conclusion of singles, doubles and team will advance to the best-of-five, single-elimination Masters competition on Thursday.

The team event will conclude Wednesday with the final three games of the preliminaries before the field is cut to the top four boys teams and four girls teams for the semifinals.

Story by Lucas Wiseman, USBC Communications and photos courtesy of B.C. Cheah and Bowl.com.

Swedish duo wins boys doubles gold

21st July, Orlando: A pair of Swedish left-handers stormed to the boys doubles gold medal Monday, taking out topseed England en-route to the title at the 10th World Youth Championships at Boardwalk Bowl.

10th World Youth C'ship logo

Sweden's Kim Bolleby and James Gruffman defeated England's Dominic Barrett and Matt Hann, 417-399 in the championship match to earn Sweden its first medal of this year's championships.

Gruffman paced the Swedes with a 215 game and Bolleby added 202 as the duo got off to a hot start and survived down the stretch to claim the victory. Hann shot 200 while Barrett had 199 in the loss.

"I knew I could do pretty good in this tournament," Bolleby said. "But I didn't expect any golds, just a medal."

Both players struggled to put into words what their accomplishment means to themselves and their home country of Sweden, but Gruffman

Boy's Doubles Gold
Doubles gold medalists, James Gruffman and Kim Bolleby

said one of the secrets to his success was using an older bowling ball on the short-oil pattern.

"It can't be described right now, I've to take a couple hours to realize what I've done, but it's great," Gruffman said. "I found an older bowling ball at the pro shop in Stockholm and it had been laying around for 10 or 15 years. Needless to say it worked quite well today."

Barrett and Hann, who earned the silver medal with the loss in the championship game, escaped with a narrow victory in the semifinals over Iceland's Robert Dan Sigurdsson and Hafthor Hardarson.

Needing a double in the final frame to shut Iceland out, Barrett delivered and locked up a 438-423 victory. Hann shot 226 and Barrett had 212 while Sigurdsson fired 224 and Hardarson had 199. It was the first medal in tournament history for Iceland.

The other semifinal wasn't quite as close as Bolleby and Gruffman took out Singapore's Gregory Gan and Mark Wong, 414-366. Bolleby led the Swedes with 213 and Gruffman added 201, while Gan shot 194 and Wong had 172 for Singapore.

Earlier in the day, the 95 boys doubles teams took part in six games of preliminaries to determine the four teams that advanced to the semifinals and it was England that dominated, shattering a pair of records.

In the boys all-events race, Barrett is dominating the field with a 2823 total for 12 games, an average of better than 235. The next closest competitor is Fredrik Thjernes of Norway, who has 2657. Fellow Norwegian Mads Sandbaekken is third with 2648.

The top 16 players in all-events after the conclusion of singles, doubles and team will advance to the Masters competition on Thursday.

Action at the World Youth Championships next shifts to boys and girls four-player team events, which begins at 8.00am. Eastern on Tuesday. Each team will bowl three games on Monday and complete the six-game set on Wednesday.

Story by Lucas Wiseman, USBC Communications and photo courtesy of Bowl.com.

Germany locks up girls doubles gold

20th July, Orlando: Despite a shaky start in the first two frames of the championship match, Germany's Tina Hulsch and Birgit Poppler roared back to claim the Girl's Doubles gold medal Sunday at the 10th World Youth Championships.

10th World Youth C'ship logo

Hulsch and Poppler combined to defeat Colombia's Rocio Restrepo and Laura Fonnegra, 464-393 at Boardwalk Bowl. Hulsch led the Germans with a 248 game while Poppler added 218 despite starting with back-to-back open frames. Restrepo shot 215 while Fonnegra had 178.

"It's awesome to know that you are competitive and one of the best," Poppler said. "I was a little nervous in the first two or three frames, but we got back in the game. It was a good feeling and I just really enjoy playing with Tina."

Despite starting the game missing two single-pin spares, Poppler rebounded to throw five consecutive strikes while Hulsch struck on 9 of 12 shots in the title match.

Girl's Doubles Gold
Birgit Poppler and Tina Hulsch with their gold medals

"Four weeks ago we had the European Championships and we played some finals there, so we knew what it feels like to be there," Poppler said. "It was a good feeling to be able to prepare using that event."

In the semifinals, Germany, the fourth-seed, advanced with a 442-389 victory over top-seeded Mexico. Hulsch shot 217 while Poppler added 225 to take out Mexico's Daniela Alvarado (211) and Sandra Gongora (211), who both bowl in the collegiate league for Wichita State University.

The Colombians advanced by defeating Korea, 418-413, as Restrepo threw the first strike in the final frame to seal the match. Restrepo finished with 224 while Fonnegra had 194. Korea's Lee Hye Mi shot 214 while teammate Lee Yeon Ji had 199.

All 63 doubles teams took part in six games of preliminaries earlier in the day Sunday and both United States teams fell just short of advancing to the semifinals. The tandem of Emily Maier and Michelle Carcagente finished in a tie for seventh place while their teammates Jenny Brown and Ricki Williams took ninth place.

Restrepo, who also won a silver medal in singles Monday night, leads the Girl's All Events with a 12-game total of 2640. Gongora is second with 2596 and Tannya Roumimper of Indonesia third at 2589.

"I've been throwing it good and I think my coach and I have made the right moves so far, but it just hasn't been enough to win," said Restrepo, who also bowls for Wichita State. "This has been the time of my life so far, so I'm very happy. The format makes it hard, but it makes you fight for it."

The top 16 players in All Events after the conclusion of singles, doubles and team will advance to the Masters competition on Thursday.

Action at the World Youth Championships next shifts to Boy's Doubles action, which begins at 8.00am. Eastern on Monday. The girls will next bowl Tuesday in the first three games of the four-player team event.

Story by Lucas Wiseman, USBC Communications and photo courtesy of Bowl.com.

England, Korea claims Singles gold

19th July, Orlando: England's Dominic Barrett and Korea's Park Mi Ran locked up gold medals in their respective singles divisions Saturday in the opening event of the 10th World Youth Championships at Broadwalk Bowl.

10th World Youth C'ship logo

Barrett secured the boys title by defeating Norway's Fredrik Tjernes, 211-191, while Park won the girls event with a 212-206 victory over Colombia's Rocio Restrepo in the gold-medal matches.

Needing all three strikes in the final frame to put the pressure on Tjernes, Barrett delivered three perfect tosses. Tjernes could have snagged the title by a pin with three strikes of his own in the tenth frame, but left a 10 pin on his first attempt.

"It feels amazing because I've never played in the youth championships before but I've played the adult championships," Barrett said. "To come out in my first event and play pretty good it feels amazing, absolutely fantastic."

Boy's Singles Gold
Dominic Barrett winning the first gold medal

Park needed just a spare and five pins in the last frame to claim the girl's singles gold medal. On her first shot, she left a 4 pin and easily made the spare and got the necessary pins to win the title.

"At the last World Youth Championships in 2006, I didn't do very well and it was a very hard time for me," Park said. "I'm happy because I have represented my country by bowling well."

In the Boy's semifinal matches, Barrett advanced by defeating Jaime Eduardo Gonzalez of Colombia, 244-206, while Tjernes knocked off Ildemaro Ruiz of Venezuela, 194-151.

Park moved on from the semifinals by defeating Singapore's Jasmine Yeong-Nathan, 197-167, and Rocio Restrepo of Colombia, took care of topseed Zatil Iman of Malaysia, 208-170.

Girl's Singles Gold
Second-seed, Park Mi Ran taking home a first gold for Korea

All 329 players in the field took part in six games of preliminaries during the day on Saturday to determine the final four in each division who advanced to the semifinals.

For the host United States, the highest finish was my Emily Maier, who finished in fifth place, just 22 pins shy of advancing to the semifinals. For the Junior Team USA boys, Dean Richards was high, finishing in 17th place.

Action at the World Youth Championships next shifts to girl's doubles action, which begins at 11.00am. Eastern on Sunday. The boys will next bowl on Monday in their doubles competition.

Story by Lucas Wiseman, USBC Communications and photos courtesy of Bowl.com.

World Youth Championship opens in style

18th July, Orlando: With the pomp and circumstance befitting of any international sporting event, the the WTBA 10th World Youth Championships kicked off Friday evening with the Opening Ceremonies at Boardwalk Bowl.

10th World Youth C'ship logo

The 2008 WTBA World Youth Championships will feature nearly 350 elite youth bowlers representing 55 countries - an increase from the 48 that competed in 2006 and 29 that were represented in 2004. The biennial 22-years-old and under tournament consists of five disciplines (singles, doubles, team, all-events and Masters).

After teams completed their official practice sessions, the ceremonies opened with the Parade of Nations as bowlers marched out the 48-side of the 80-lane center, proudly displaying their country flags as well as bright smiles.

Team USA and international star Diandra Asbaty, who serves as the United States Bowling Congress Youth spokesperson, addressed the com-

Team Estonia
Team Estonia gets support from a young fan

etitors and shared her experiences at the World Youth Championships, where she won the Masters gold medal plus three other medals in 2000.

"The Percustodians," an Orlando-based "STOMP" group, entertained the gathering with its upbeat, trash can-based drum session - and even made it interactive for a few spectators before Asbaty closed the ceremonies by rolling out the first ball.

This is the first time the United States has hosted the World Youth Championships, which were first held in 1990, and the first major international bowling tournament held in the U.S. since the 1995 WTBA World Championships at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev.

Competition starts Saturday with the singles event. The boys' six-game boys preliminaries will be held over two squads - 8.00am. and 12.30pm. Eastern - with the girls' six-game preliminaries to follow at 5.00pm.

The Percustodians entertain the crowd with their drumming

New for 2008 in WTBA World Championships, the top 4 finishers in the boys and girls preliminaries will advance to the one-game semifinal match play, with the winners of the semifinal matches advancing to the one-game gold medal match.

Saturday's singles semifinals will begin at 9 p.m., immediately followed by the finals. The semifinal losers will each earn bronze medals.

Story by Kevin Hazaert, USBC Communications and photo by Matt Stroshane/Getty Images.

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