18th MILO International Junior All-Stars 2017
Korean, Malaysian crowned youth champions
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9th December, Petaling Jaya: Debutant, Kang Myoung Jin of Daegu, Korea and Malaysian national youth, Qistina Zainal captured the Boy's and Girl's Open Masters titles at the 18th MILO International Junior All-Stars Bowling Championships 2017 on Saturday.

Kang, who won this year's U22 Fukuoka Summer Cup, brushed aside challenger and 2016 Singapore national champion, Timothy Tham 234-172 to win his second international title. Both title contenders started the final match cautiously marking their first three frames.

The topseed stumbled to a split in the fourth but did well to pick up the spare which obviously gave him the confidence he needed when he rolled two consecutive strikes thereon. Tham marked all his frames and was unable to string together strikes to pose any threat.

The 22-year-old Korean then rolled three strikes-in-a-row from frame eighth while his opponent had two splits in the ninth and tenth frames. Kang two more strikes to end with a convincing victory and earned the top prize of RM25,000 (approx. US$6,110).

Kang Myoung Jin winning his second international youth title

Tham, who took home RM15,000 as first runner-up, had earlier dispatched third-seed and 2017 Asian Youth Singles gold medallist, Tun Hakim of Malaysia and defending champion, Blayne Fletcher of Australia, 269-200-237 in the first stepladder match.

Fletcher finished as second runner-up to win RM8,000 while Tun Hakim settled for RM7,000 as third runner-up. Mr Ng Ping Loong, Manager, Marketing & Sports, Nestles Products (M), main sponsor was on hand to present the prizes to the winners.

In the earlier 10-games final roll-off, the champion topped the round with a total of 2316 followed by Tham in second with 2291. Tun Hakim and Fletcher both made the cut for the stepladder finals in third and fourth position with 2285 and 2241 respectively.

In the girl's division, third-seed Qistina Zainal forced topseed, Ameerahusna Dato Aznel into the second deciding match after she took the first game 237-191. Ameerahusna started the second match better with a double in her first two frames while Qistina has an early opened frame with a split.

The match was swaying toward Ameerahusna when Qistina had another split in the fourth frame which she failed to convert. But Ameerahusna also had a split in the fifth but was still 11 pins ahead. Qistina bounced back with a double in the seventh and eighth frames forcing Ameerahusna into a mistake on the split in the ninth frame.

Qistina eventually ended with 182 which meant Ameerahusna needed to double in her tenth frame to take the match but she managed on a nine-pin count which she spared and struck seven pins in her bouns frame to lost the match with 178.

Top 3 Malaysian winners, Ameerahusna, Qistina and Faten Najihah

Qistina, who earned RM18,000 as champion, had earned the right to challenge for the title with a victory over second-seed, Ayra Nur Jehan and fourth-seed, Faten Najihah, 247-194-204 in an all-Malaysian semi-finals.

Ameerahusna, who settled for RM10,000 as first runner-up, topped the earlier 10-game roll-off with 2248 ahead of Ayra Nur Jehan in second with 2231. Qistina and Faten earned their place in the stepladder finals by finishing third and fourth with 2229 and 2223 respectively.

This year's youth championships has attracted over 700 youths from 16 countries which commenced on November 29 for Under-12, Under-15, Under-18 and Youth Open boys and girls divisions. The championship also features a division for the adult called "The Masters" for men and women (with handicap of 6 pins) with the qualifying ending late tonight. The top 47 plus the defending champion will bowl 10-games finals tomorrow where the top 6 will advance to the stepladder shootout finals.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

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