Sarawak steals limelight in youth finals

23rd March, K.Lumpur: Sarawak youths stole the limelight in the Milo Youth Masters finals of the 30th Malaysian International Open Bowling Championship while Korea's Choi Bok Eum captured the Boy's Open crown.

Jacqueline Sijore of Sukan Teras Sarawak, captured her fist-ever international title when she amassed 2253 pinfalls over the 10-game Girl's Open Masters played this morning. Jacqueline, who has been bowling for 5 years, also won the Ladies' Graded Masters crown last year.

"I finished third last year in the Girl's Open finals so I'm very happy to win this year," said the 15-year-old SMK Batu Bintang student. Winning 4 gold medals in the MSSM Championship in Johor last week has given me the confidence this morning.

Singapore's Daphne Tan and Geraldine Ng had to settle for second and third spots after trailing the champion almost throughout the finals. Tan scored 2171, 82 pins adrift while Geraldine ended the finals with 2169.

In the Boy's division, Asian Youth 4 gold medalist, Choi Bok Eum of Bowling Camp Korea, was simply too good for the field when he romped home a comfortable winner with 2279, 211 pins ahead of his nearest rival.

"I've been winning a lot of medals in official championships but not a major international open title yet," said Choi through his coach, James Kim. "I hope that winning the youth title will give me the confidence to do well in the Men's Open finals later.

Bong Kihow of Sarawak, who made the finals from a toss of a coin. Bong tied with Afiq Rifqi on 849 in the qualifying table but when one of the finalists failed to check in on time, he was given the chance to play in the finals after winning the toss.

The Sarawakian knocked down 2068 to finish second ahead of 2005 Milo Junior All Stars champion, Ben Hung Kun Yi of Chinese Taipei in third sot with 2055. Pahang's Rodson Tong and Hong Kong's Eris Tseng completed the top 5 with 2048 and 2030 respectively.

This year's Peter Yap Memorial Cup champion, Nazrin Wagiman stole the limelight for Sarawak when he captured the Boy's Under-16 Masters title with 2052. Yusuf Abdul Raof of Kuala Lumpur took second with 2030 and Ahmad Amiruddin third with 1981.

2006 Penang Pesta Under-16 champion, Hee Kar Yen added another title to her collection after winning the Under-16 girls crown with 1924. Kuala Lumpur's Radin Nur Najwa and Nur Umirah Abdul Raduan finished second and third with 1906 and 1894.

Photos by Terence Yaw, MTBC.