20th Asian School Tenpin Bowling Championships
Hong Kong, Japan shares Masters glory
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12th July, Hong Kong: Third-seed, Alex Yu captured Hong Kong's first gold medal in the Boy's Masters final of the 20th Asian School Tenpin Bowling Championships while top-seed, Erina Ishimoto took home Japan's fifth gold in the Girl's division.

Triple gold medallist, Hideaki Hata of Japan won the first game, 230-217 against challenger, Yu in the championship match to take a slender 13 pins lead. But the 17-year-old Hong Kong national youth fought back galantly to win the second game, 248-224 to capture the gold with 465-454 total pinfalls.

Hata got off to a better start in the second game with three consecutive strikes whilst Yu marked his opening frame before rolling a double in the second and third frames to trail by 9 pins. But the 16-year-old Japanese missed a crucial single pin in his fourth frame allowing Yu to draw level.

Although both the gold medal contenders rolled two consecutive strikes each in the fifth and sixth frames, Yu continued his strikefest by adding three additional strikes to open up a gap of 23 pins and reducing the first game margin of 13 pins to just 3.

Masters champions, Alex Yu and Erina Ishimoto

Hata added two more strikes in the eight and ninth frames and needed another in the tenth frame for any chance to winning the tie but left a solid pin 10 eliminating all chances for a victory. Yu then marked his tenth frame to seal victory, to the delight of the large local crowd that had gathered to lend support to the Hong Kong youth.

The champion had earlier edged second-perfect gamer and a second Japanese, Naoto Kanno, 247-244 in the semi-final to advance to the final. Hata, who had won three gold medals in the Singles, Team and All Events, settled for the silver while Kanno earned his third individual bronze medal.

Hata ended the earlier second block Masters finals in first position with 4052 pinfalls from another five wins to advance to the stepladder finals as top-seed. Kanno, who rolled the championships' second 300 in the nith game, finished second with 4033 while Yu won all his second block matches to make the cut with 3966.

Boy's Masters medallists, Hideaki Hata, Alex Yu and Naoto Kanno

All was not lost when top-seed, Erina Ishoimoto won Japan's fifth gold medal of the championships with victory over Singles gold medallist and third-seed, Arianne Tay of Singapore B, 425-384 in the Girl's Masters title match. Ishimoto narrowly lost the first game, 182-190 but bounced back superbly to beat Tay, 243-194 for her second gold medal of the championships. She picked up her first gold in the Team event yesterday.

Tay had earlier out-classed All Events gold medallist and second-seed, Fion Liew, 225-151 in the all-Singapore semi-final match to advance to the title match. Tay, who won three silver medals in the Doubles, Team and All Events, picked up her fourth silver medal.

Liew, who also won silver in the Singles, gold in the Doubles and All Events, bronze in the Team of 4, added a second bronze medal in the Masters. Ishimoto topped the second block Masters finals with 3667 from just three wins.

Liew snatched second spot in the position-round match against fourth-placed, Akiho Mizutani with 3582. Tay made the cut in third position with 3563. Mizutani missed the cut by 46 pins to finish fourth with 3517.

Singapore emerged as champion of the girl's division with a medal haul of 2-1-2 while Japan was champion in the boy's division with a haul of 3-2-3. Japan were crowned the Overall chanmpion of the championships with 5 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze medals.

Girl's Masters medallists, Arianne Tay, Erina Ishimoto and Fion Liew

Singapore finished second overall with 2-1-3 and Hong Kong A third with 1-1-0. Qatar won one gold medal in the Boy's Doubles and one bronze medal in the Boy's All Events and Australia A won a silver medal in the Boy's Doubles.

A victory banquet was held at KITEC, Kowloon Bay graced by Guest of Honour, Mr Timothy Fok, GBS, JP, President of Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China and Ms Ida Lee, JP, Acting DIrector of Leisure and Cultural Services. Also in attendance were Ms Vivien Lau, BBS, JP, Organizing Chairman and Chairman of Hong Kong Tenpin Bowling Congress, Dr Trisha Leahy, BBS, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Sports Institute, and the Honorable, Mr Ma Fung Kwok, SBS, JP, Counsellor of Legistative Council.

Ms Vivien Lau gave her closing speech at the start of the banquet, followed by Mr Timonthy Fok and Ms Ida Lee. Ms Ida Lee presented the Girls champion and Boys champion trophies to Singapore A and Japan while Mr Fok awarded the Overall champion trophy to Japan.

Hideaki Hata of Japan was voted the most popular boy by all the players while Arielle Tay was voted the most popular girl. Both were awarded an Apple Airpod each courtesy of Hong Kong Tenpin Bowling Congress.

A simple flag handling over ceremony was held where Ms Vivien Lau passed on to Mr Timothy Fok before being passed to Mr Alexander Lim of Philippines Bowling Federation, who will host the 21st edition of Asian School Tenpin Bowling CHampionships in Manila in August 2020.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Hong Kong.

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