20th Storm U22 International Junior All-Stars 2019
All-Stars titles for Malaysian and Korean
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13th December, Petaling Jaya: Third-seed, Azriq Izam of Malaysia had to beat topseed twice to win the Boy's Open Masters title of the 20th Storm U22 International Junior All-Stars 2019 while Korean topseed, Yoo Da Yeong needed a second match to clinch the Girl's crown.

Azriq had forced the topseed into a second deciding match after easily defeating Muhammad Syazirol, 226-189 in the all-Malaysian final. In the decider, Azriq got off superbly with four strikes-in-a-row while Syazirol doubled in his first two frames and marked his next two frames.

When Syazirol suffered a split in the fifth frame, Azriq doubled in the sixth and seventh frames to take a commanding lead of 44 pins. Another split by Syazirol sealed his faith and Azriq went on to claim his first international youth title with a 232-178 victory.

In the earlier semi-final match amongst second-seed, Matthew Ong of Malaysia, Azriq and fourth-seed Callum Borck of Australia, Ong and Azriq matched strides with a spare in their opening frame and a turkey each while Borck started well with three strikes-in-a-row.

2019 Youth Open champions, Azriq Izam and Yoo Da Yeong

The two Malaysians matched strides again with a strike each in their next the frame and the Aussie suffered a big split in his fourth frame. Azriq also suffered a split in the fifth frame as Ong added three more consecutive stikes to take a 30 pin lead.

Borck never recovered thereafter and when Ong failed to convert his spare in the eighth frame, Azriq took advantage of the opportunity and roll three strikes-in-a-row. Ong struck in the tenth frame but could not add another strike in the 11th frame. Azriq doubled in the tenth and 11th frames to clinch victory, 244-242-204.

Azriq picked up the top prize of RM25,000 (approx. US$6,000) as champion while Syazirol, who topped the earlier 10-games Masters finals with 2230, settled for RM15,000. Ong, who earned RM8,000 as second runner-up, finished second with 2190.

Azriq and Borck, who took home RM5,000 as third runner-up, finished third and fourth positions with 2185 and 2175 respectively. Wan Muhammad Naqib missed the stepladder cut by two pins finishing in fifth position with 2173.

Top 3 winners, Muhammad Syazirol, Azriq Izam and Matthew Ong

In the Girl's Open division, topseed Yoo Da Yeong narrowly lost the first match, 245-255 to fourth-seed and winner of the semi-final, Chou Hyeonji in the all-Korean championship round. But Yoo bounced back brilliantly with an emphatic win over Choi, 225-133 to capture the Girl's crown.

Choi advanced the final after dispatching second-seed, Rio Watanabe of Japan and third-seed, Nur Syazwani Sahar of Malaysia, 204-157-188 in the semi-finals. Yoo, who topped the earlier finals with 2245, pocketed RM18,000 (approx. US$4,300) as champion.

Watanabe, who finished second with 2210, earned RM3,000 as third runner-up while Nur Syazwani, who was third with 2188, picked up RM5,000 as second runner-up. Choi, who clinched the fourth and final stepladder spot in fourth with 2148, took home RM10,000 as first runner-up.

Mr Kevin Tan Gar Peng, COO of Sunway IFM Sdn Bhd was on hand to give away the prizes which included trophies, bowling bags and bowling balls to the top 3 Boy's Open and Girl's Open Masters winners.

Top 3 winners, Choi Hyeonji, Yoo Da Yeong and Nur Syazwani

The 20th Storm U22 International Junior All-Stars 2019 Bowling Championships, which is one of the top youth bowling competitions in Asia, is sponsored by Storm and co-organized by the Storm-U22 Bowling and Sunway Megalanes.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

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