WSC: Kulick, Barnes take gold medals

Team USA's Chris Barnes and Kelly Kulick earned the gold medals Tuesday in the inaugural World Tenpin Bowling Association World Singles Championships in Limassol, Cyprus.

Kulick WSCKulick (pictured left with Team USA coach Rod Ross) earned the title with a dramatic 228-226 win over Latvia's Diana Zavjalova, while Barnes took down teammate Tommy Jones, 212-198, to win the men's title.

In the women's championship match, Kulick entered the final frame needing two strikes and nine pins to lock up the win. After carrying a light strike to start the 10th, Kulick went high on her next shot but the 4 pin fell very late for the second strike, propelling her to the title.

"To go out and dominate all week long and make it to through to the final shots in the 10th frame and coming up clutch is really what I wanted to show up and do," Kulick said. "The competition this week was really strong, but I came all the way to Cyprus and got the job done."

Barnes WSCBarnes pulled way from Jones down the stretch with strikes in the seventh, eighth and ninth to lock up the win. Jones earned the silver medal for finishing second.

"I know I didn't win money like in a PBA tournament, but you don't get very many opportunities like this to win a world title against a world-class field," Barnes said. "I find it much more special at this point in my career than I might have at an earlier point in time. I really cherish a win like this."

In the semifinals, Barnes survived a tough match to beat Colombia's Andres Gomez, 246-244, while Jones knocked off Osku Palermaa, 259-199. On the women's side, Kulick defeated Malaysia's Esther Cheah, 212-207, while Zavjalova beat Mexico's Aseret Zetter, 237-212. The semifinal losers shared the bronze medal.

Team USA's Shannon O'Keefe lost a tough quarterfinal match, 3-2, against Cheah. In the best-of-five match, O'Keefe took a 2-1 lead before dropping the final two games 257-224 and 268-222.

The World Singles Championships, which featured a maximum of two players from each country with 44 countries sending representatives, was created to bridge the gap between the other WTBA World Championship events, which feature full teams.

The WTBA World Championships for men and women will take place in 2013 in Las Vegas, while the WTBA World Men's Championships will be held in 2014 and the WTBA World Women's Championships will take place in 2015, both in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The cycle begins again in 2016 with the second World Singles Championships.