Masters Gold for Ukraine & Sweden

by Bob Johnson 0

It was certainly a day to remember for 17-year-old Daria Kovalova from Ukraine as she trounced her opposition to win the Girls' Masters of the 2012 European Youth Championships at Lovvang Bowl in Aalborg, Denmark.

Earlier in the week, Kovalova hit a 297 in the doubles event and that helped her along the way to setting a new championship record for the 18-game All Events of 3884, beating the old record by 17 pins. she won the gold medal, as reported earlier.

Today, in the best-of-three game Masters rounds she faced team-mate Oleksandra Iakunina in her first match and won over two games, 229 and 215.

In the semi-finals she was drawn against her best friend from Moscow, Maria Bulanova. That match went the distance  but 2-1 to Kovalova.

Girl Masters medalists

In the final she not only faced her opponent but also a huge crowd packed into the bowling center as it was to be against Danish favorite Pernille Rasmussen. Crowd support seemed to encourage the Ukrainian as she won

Boy Masters medalists

the first game, 258-192, then got even better to keep the match at two games, taking the second game, 289-191.

Asked what she had for lunch to inspire such high scores, she just replied: "An apple and a cup of tea."

Three weeks ago Kovalova was runner-up for the Samaranch Trophy at the European Women's Masters in Barcelona and the following week played a youth tournament in Moscow, Russia. How did she fare? "I won." Soon she will be heading for Bangkok, Thailand for the World Youth Championships. "I really want to win the Masters there," she added.

The favorite to take the boys' Masters title was Filip Wilhelmsson from Sweden, the number one seed after the All Events total. He started out the day well but fell to Dominic Buchmann of Germany in the semi-finals, winning the first game, 190-164, but going down in the following two, 207-205 and 239-195.

Nicola Pongolini of Italy and Dutchman Jord van Weeren lost their semi-final matches, so had to be content with bronze medals and the tussle for gold saw Buchmann against Sweden's Jesper Svensson.

It was kind of an anti-climax after the high scores of the girl's final but Svensson got the two wins he needed, 207-175 and 188-186. Svensson commented: "At the beginning of the week I just couldn't get the strikes I needed. I just had lots of 9-spares, so I didn't think I could score enough to make the Masters." He made it in 14th place and had to fight his way through five rounds before winning the gold medal.

Does this gold give Svensson a ticket to the World Youth Championships in Bangkok? "No, there are four other boys going there. But I hope to see some more gold medals for Sweden."




Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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