Singapore adds a bronze medal

2nd July, Singapore: Brandon Lee and Christopher Hwang of Singapore put in a seemingly impossible task in the sixth and final game of the Boy's Doubles event to snatch the bronze medal in the 1st Asian Youth Games. Thailand's Phumin Klanbida (261) and Peerawich Rungcharoenm (277) started a cracking pace with a record-breaking 538 opening game but was quickly caught up by Korea's Choi Kyung-Hwan and Hwang Dong-Jun reducing the deficit from 48 to 7 pins after the second game.

The Thais continued to drop their pace allowing the Korean pair to take over the running at the halfway mark, 11 pins ahead with Singapore's Brandon Lee and Christopher Hwang making their bid.

As the Koreans continued to lead, Brandon and Christopher moved into second spot after the fourth game to trail by just 9 pins with Japan's Satoshi Hamanaka and Takuma Echigo in third while Thailand dropped out of contention.   A disasterous 350 in the fifth game saw the Singapore pair nose dived into sixth position and hopes of a medal seemed a tall order as Japan surged ahead into the lead, just 2 pins ahead of the Koreans.

A miraculous 224 from Brandon and a 290 from Christopher in their final game saw the pair stormed home to snatch the bronze medal with a team total of 2596. Korea shot a superb 504 to seal the gold medal with 2711. "I'm happy for 16-year-old Choi and 17-year-old Hwang," said team manager, James Kim. "This is their first international tournament and they've displayed superb composure."

Japan settled for the silver medal with 2679, just 32 pins behind while another Japanese pair of Yusuke Yamamoto and Hiroki Takada were robbed off a medal finishing fourth with 2535.

"The feeling right now is simply estatic," exclaimed the Singapore Sports School student, Brandon Lee. "We came to a pair of tough lanes in the fifth game and we struggled big time," explained Christopher Hwang, who won the 2005 and 2008 Penang Pesta Under-16 Masters.   "Luckily our coach, Henry gave us some encouraging words and we really fought back in the final game. Brandon was simply great throughout and I had a good break in the final game."

"I made a bad call in the fifth game and when I apologised to the boys, they must have felt better and probably that's why they were determined to give their best," said coach Henry Tan. "But the boys really showed great fighting spirit and sheer determination."

With two gold and a bronze medal, Singapore now led the medal tally ahead of Korea, who has one gold, one silver and three bronze medals. Hong Kong has one gold medal in the opening event yesterday.

  Photos by Terence Yaw for SBF.