2019 Storm U22 China International Youth Open Championships
Japanese youth clinches U22 title
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28th July, Shanghai: Eighth-seed, Yuma Haraguchi of Japan clinched the 2019 Storm U22 China International Youth Bowling Championships title after defeating seventh-seed, Keith Mark Siu Ki of Hong Kong 2-1 in the final.

Mark took the first best-of-three match, 219-201 but Haraguchi bounced back strongly to win the second match, 257-207 forcing a third and deciding match. The 20-year-old Japanese started off with a double in the first two frames to open up a 13 pin lead.

Both Haraguchi and Mark struck in the third frame and a nine pin mark in the fourth to maintain the same gap. Haraguchi extended his lead with another strike in the fifth frame as Mark could not respond.

Both had an opened frame in the sixth and when Mark struck three times in his next three frames and Haraguchi opened again in the eighth frame, the tie had even out. Both struck in the ninth frame to take the match down to the tenth and final frame.

2019 Storm U22 champion, Yuma Haraguchi

And when Haraguchi managed nine pin and subsequently spared it, Mark had a chance to strike to take the win, but left a stubborn pin 10 allowing Haraguchi to narrowly win, 236-233.

The champion had earlier breezed past China's Jeremy Breitenstein, 2-0 in the first semi-final match to advance to the final while Mark had to work hard to beat second-seed, Ahmad Azriq of Sunway Megalanes, Malaysia, 2-1 in the other semi to book his place in the final.

Haraguchi ousted Christopher Tiong of ABAS, Malaysia, 2-1 in the quarter-finals and Mark took out Liao Li-Yang of Chinese Taipei, 2-1 in the quarter-finals as well. Haraguchi sailed past China's Chen Liuhao, 2-0 in the Round of 16 and Mark also had an easy victory over Abner Loo of ABAS, Malaysia 2-0 in the Round of 16.

Tha Japanese pocketed the top prize of 12,000 Chinese Yuan (approx. US$1,735) and a bowling ball courtesy of Storm Bowling. Mark took home 8,000 yuan and also a Storm bowling ball. The second and third runners-up, Azriq and Breitenstein earned 4,000 yuan and a Storm bowling ball each.

Mr Zhu Shunwai, Genral Manager of Hao's Bowling Center presented medals and prizes to the winners while Mr Fong Tak Meng, representing Storm Bowling, gave away the bowling balls.

Top 4 winners, Keith Mark, Yuma Haraguchi, Jeremy Breitenstein and Ahmad Azriq

A total of 116 youths from Asia participated in the three-day championships in which they bowled two blocks of four games each. The top 44 qualified for the Round 1 finals where the top 16 with the highest pinfalls with pins carried forward from the qualifying rounds advanced to the Round of 16 Elimination Rounds. The field was then cut to eight before the semi-finals and final.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Shanghai, China.

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