Sweden, Japan win Masters to close out World Youth

HONG KONG - The 2014 World Youth Championships came to an exciting close Friday as Jesper Svensson of Sweden and Japan's Mirai Ishimoto won Masters gold medals at the South China Athletic Association Bowling Center.

Both sealed their victories with clutch doubles in the final frame. Svensson defeated Junior Team USA's Wesley Low, 237-227, while Ishimoto topped Finland's Sanna Pasanen, 208-191.

2014 WYC SvenssonSvensson started the championship match with an open frame, and Low started with four consecutive strikes to jump out to an early 20-pin lead, but it was Svensson who was able to strike down the stretch.

"I started off strong and took advantage of a few lucky breaks, but he found something in the last few frames, and I couldn't get anything going," said Low, who medaled in every event, including an all-events win with a record score of 4,224 for 18 games. "This week was an amazing experience. To get to bowl against all of these countries and keep up with the best youth bowlers in the world was very satisfying."

In the sixth frame of the girls final, Ishimoto converted a 2-4-10 split to keep within a few pins of Pasanen. Ishimoto, who also helped Japan to the team gold medal this week, then threw a double in the 10th frame to lock up the gold.

All rounds of Masters competition at the World Youth Championships featured both lane conditions that were used throughout the tournament. Each pair of lanes had the 45-foot Mexico City lane condition on the left lane and 35-foot Beijing pattern on the right.

2014 WYC IshimotoOn the way to the gold-medal match, Low was the one to step up in the clutch, throwing two strikes in his final frame to slip past his Junior Team USA teammate Kamron Doyle, 227-220, despite a missed single pin early in the match. As the higher seed, Low was able to choose which lane he'd finish on, selecting the Beijing pattern, on which he rolled the fifth perfect game in tournament history this week.

Svensson, the No. 1 seed on the boys side, topped teammate Pontus Andersson, 206-195, to set up the rematch with Low. Svensson and Low first battled in the singles semifinals, with Low prevailing on his way to the silver medal.

In the girls semifinals, top-seeded Ishimoto cruised into the final with a 196-180 win against Ukraine's Daria Kovalova, while Pasanen never was challenged in a 188-136 victory over Sweden's Jenny Wegner.

The field at the 2014 World Youth Championships included 262 bowlers from 46 countries, competing in singles, doubles, team, all-events and Masters. Singles was contested on the Beijing oil pattern, doubles was bowled on Mexico City and the team event featured three games on each.

Bowling fans from around the globe were able to watch the competition live on BOWL.com's BowlTV thanks to a partnership between the United States Bowling Congress and the Hong Kong Tenpin Bowling Congress.

The United States topped the medal table this week with 12 medals overall, including three gold, five silver and four bronze.

"We have a great team and great support from the other Junior Team USA members back home," said Junior Team USA head coach Rod Ross. "We couldn't have done this without them behind us. I am extremely proud of all the players. They performed in the clutch and bowled with dignity. It was a terrific week overall."

Korea swept the gold medals in singles, the first discipline of the week. The Sweden boys and Junior Team USA girls stood atop the podium in doubles, while the United States successfully defended its boys team title and Japan claimed the girls team gold with a dramatic one-pin win.
For complete information on the World Youth Championships, visit WYC2014.com.
At SCAA Bowling Center, Hong Kong
Friday's results
(Winner earns gold, loser gets silver)

Mirai Ishimoto, Japan, def. Sanna Pasanen, Finland, 208-191
(Winners advance, losers tie for bronze)

Ishimoto def. Daria Kovalova, Ukraine, 196-180
Pasanen def. Jenny Wegner, Sweden, 188-136
(Winner earns gold, loser gets silver)

Jesper Svensson, Sweden, def. Wesley Low, United States, 237-227
(Winners advance, losers tie for bronze)

Low def. Kamron Doyle, United States, 227-220
Svensson def. Pontus Andersson, Sweden, 206-195