Korea, Singapore Win Singles Titles at 2019 World Bowling Junior Championships

by Matt Cannizzaro, USBC Communications 0

SAINT-MAXIMIN, France - Korea's Ji Geun rolled the first perfect game of the 2019 World Bowling Junior Championships and then ended his memorable day at Plaza Bowling Saint Maximin by winning the gold medal in boys singles.

Top-seeded Arianne Tay of Singapore cruised to the gold medal on the girls side and is ready to carry that momentum into doubles and team competition.

Ji's 300, a 10-strike performance in the new Current Frame Scoring system, earned him a spot in the gold-medal match, where a final-frame strike locked up the title. He defeated Jesse Ahokas of Finland, 235-224, for the first medal of the inaugural event for bowlers ages 13-18.

Ahokas finished the match first and forced Ji to strike in the 10th frame. In the Current Frame system, any strike automatically is worth 30 pins, and there are no fill balls. A nine-count and a spare from Ji would've forced a tie, and anything less would've handed the gold medal to Ahokas.

Tay struck six times in the girls championship match and defeated Peppi Konsteri of Finaland, 230-190.

"I'm feeling really excited right now, and this is a great start to the week," Tay said. "I just can't believe it. It's my first time winning something major like this. I think it's the biggest win of my life. The key was to keep myself calm during the process, breath in and out and make the best shots I could."

Tay averaged 234.5 through six games of qualifying to earn the No. 1 seed for the bracket-style semifinals, where she downed Grace Gella of the Philippines, 214-188. Konsteri earned her spot in the final by defeating her own teammate, Mila Nevalainen, 243-235.

Ji's perfect effort helped him past Mexico's Maximiliano Lopez, 300-221, and Ahokas advanced with a 257-214 victory over qualifying leader and Finland teammate Pyry Puharinen. Puharinen averaged more than 253 through six games of qualifying to pace the 58-player boys field.

The members of Junior Team USA struggled in singles this week, but they were able to gather some good information about the bowling center and 41-foot World Bowling Montreal oil pattern, which helped them find success during the opening squad of doubles Tuesday.

Junior Team USA's Anthony Neuer finished tied for 13th place in singles with a 1,374 total, and fellow left-hander Solomon Salama finished 17th with 1,358. On the girls side, Kamerin Peters finished 20th with a 1,221 effort, and Mabel Cummins was 24th with 1,180.

The action at the first edition of the World Junior Championships will continue Wednesday with the second half of doubles qualifying. Half the field bowled its six games Tuesday afternoon.

In all, 105 bowlers (58 boys and 47 girls) representing 35 countries competed in singles this week at Plaza Bowling Saint Maximin, where they're competing in four disciplines - singles, doubles, mixed team and Masters. Medals also will be awarded for all-events.

All qualifying rounds and semifinals at the World Junior Championships are being held at Plaza Saint Maximin and livestreamed by World Bowling, but the remaining championship matches will be contested on a special installation inside the Institut du Judo in the center of Paris, allowing for a more elaborate TV setting.

The Current Frame Scoring system being used this week has been featured in recent World Bowling Tour events, the Asian Bowling Federation Tour Finals and the Asian Games.

For more information on Junior Team USA, visit BOWL.com/JuniorTeamUSA.

For more information about the World Bowling Junior Championships, visit WorldBowling.org.

2019 WORLD BOWLING JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Plaza Saint Maximin
Saint-Maximin, France

Tuesday's results

GIRLS

CHAMPIONSHIP
(Winner earns gold, loser gets silver)

Arianne Tay, Singapore, def. Peppi Konsteri, Finland, 230-190

SEMIFINALS
(Winners advance, losers tie for bronze)

Tay def. Grace Gella, Philippines, 214-188
Konsteri def. Mila Nevalainen, Finland, 243-235

BOYS

CHAMPIONSHIP
(Winner earns gold, loser gets silver)

Ji Geun, Korea, def. Jesse Ahokas, Finland 235-224

SEMIFINALS
(Winners advance, losers tie for bronze)

Ji def. Maximiliano Lopez, Mexico, 300-221
Ahokas def. Pyry Puharinen, Finland, 257-214

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