A 1-2-3 finish for Malaysian bowlers at San Marino Open


PETALING JAYA: Malaysian bowlers stormed to a 1-2-3 finish in the San Marino Open bowling championships which ended on Sunday.

Alex Liew won the crown after beating compatriot Adrian Ang in the final.

It was also a good indication for the women’s team who will be heading for the women’s world championships in Hong Kong in September, as Esther Cheah reached the semi-finals, only to lose to Adrian in the mixed men and women event.

She ended up joint third together with the other losing semi-finalist Robert Andersson of Sweden.

Alex, together with Sharon Koh, Sin Li Jane, Zandra Aziela and Zulmazran Zulkifli, were forced to work hard having only qualified for the 36-player first elimination round.

Mohd Syafiq Ridhwan (seventh) and Jacqueline Jenelee Sijore (12th) made the second elimination round by virtue of finishing in the 7-12 bracket after qualifying while Esther made it to the third round after finishing in sixth spot. The top six after qualifying gained automatic entry to the third elimination round.

For Li Jane, Zandra and Zulmazran, their challenge ended in the second round after failing to secure a top-10 finish to advance.

In the third round, Esther defeated team-mate Sharon 482-418 over two games while Alex produced a strong showing to beat Denmark’s Thomas Larsen 462-414.

Adrian, meanwhile, had to overcome a strong challenge from Jacqueline before triumphing 481-450. Brunswick Euro Challenge winner Syafiq, however, had his run halted by US Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) pro Mika Kouvuniemi of Finland when he lost 437-482.

In the quarter-finals, Alex got the scalp of England’s Stuart Williams 440-421 while Esther defeated Laurence Gaillard of France 491-418. Adrian then defeated Koivuniemi 466-432 to set up an all-Malaysian semi-final match against Esther.

Esther, who is playing her first international tournament in six months, fought gallantly against Adrian before losing 489-499. In the other semi-final Guangzhou Asian Games gold medallist Alex downed Robert Andersson of Sweden 459-417.

In the final, southpaw Alex beat Adrian 465-428 over two games.

Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) secretary-general Sidney Tung said the team had prepared thoroughly for the competition in light of the women’s world meet and the Indonesia SEA Games in November.

“The women on the European trip know that this is their chance to seal spots for the world meet and they have to produce results,” said Sidney.

The team will head to Barcelona for the City of Barcelona International Trophy which starts today until July 17.

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