Sweden sweeps World Senior team titles

LAS VEGAS - Sweden, traditionally a power house in team bowling, swept the men's and women's team gold medals in the inaugural World Senior Championships Thursday morning at Red Rock Lanes.

The Swedish women, Susanne Olsson, Ann-Ki Larsson Carlsson, Lena Sulkanen and Christel Carlsson, seeded third for the playoffs, defeated the top-seeded Canadians, Cathy Harvey, France Joubert, Sharon Tataryn and Jill Friis, in the title match, 827-679, to claim the gold medal.

A few lanes to right, Sweden's Jan Nordberg, Christer Pettersson, Stefan Yngstrom and Christer Danielsson took down Senior Team USA's Hugh Miller, Ed Roberts, Del Ballard Jr. and Ron Mohr, 903-816, to give Sweden its third gold medal of the championships.

Sweden women team gold 465The women's title match wasn't decided before the last two frames. The Swedes had a 64-pin lead after five frames but the Canadians narrowed the gap for a final showdown.

While Canada opened four times in their 9th and 10th frames, Olsson doubled, Larsson-Carlsson had a four bagger, Sulkanen three strikes in the 10th and Carlsson closed with three strikes and a 9 for 253 to seal the victory.

Sulkanen, who won three gold medals in singles, team and Masters 30 years ago in the World Championships in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1983, is the only bowler in the world, men and women, who has won a title in the adult and senior World Championships.

"This was the title I really want to win," Sulkanen said afterwards. "I had the experience of winning a team title (the lone gold medal in the team event for Swedish women in WTBA history) and wanted it again."

Carlsson, the anchor bowler, agreed with her team mate. "The team title is the most important title for us. After winning the team gold, we can bowl relaxed in the Masters. Any success there would be the icing on the cake."

In the semifinals, Sweden topped second-seeded Senior Team USA with singles champion Lucy Sandelin, Anne Marie Duggan, Tish Johnson and all-events champion Robin Romeo, 794-755, to advance to the gold medal match.

In the other semifinal, Canada topped No. 4 seed Australia with Jill Morris, Heather Robertson, Robyn Flynn and two-time World Cup champion Jeanette Baker, 857-752.

The Canadians, who dominated qualifying yesterday, received the silver medal. The Aussies and the team from the host country shared the bronze medal.

In the men's playoffs, most of the spectators, besides the supporters of Puerto Rico and Mexico, were looking forward to a title match between the two dominating countries in this Championships, United States and Sweden.

And the favorites met the expectations. The Swedes beat No. 4 seed Mexico with Isaac Amkie, Manuel Garcia, Victor Mar and Jesus Gutierrez, 765-696, while Senior Team USA defeated a strong Puerto Rican team featuring Antonio Santa, Antonio Velez, Edward Roncoli and Edgardo Ruiz, in a high scoring match, 860-844.

The gold medal match was close until the end. Nordberg and Pettersson, who are team mates on Swedish elite club "Joker" proved that it is never bad to have a joker on the team, especially not in Las Vegas, finishing with 236 and 199 respectively.

Yngstrom, who has won a gold medal in the World Team Cup for Sweden but never a gold medal in a World Championship, was the man of the match behind a 247 game. As in his title match in Singles against Mohr, Danielsson closed with three strikes and 221.

"This is the third gold medal for a Swedish men's team at World Championships," said former national head coach Magnus Johnson, "but the first in a four-player team. We started slowly against Mexico but we played extremely well against the U.S."

It was also the third team title for Johnsson, who coached the Tre-Kronor team to the team gold in the 1999 and 2003 World Championships.

The United States received the silver medal while Puerto Rico and Mexico took bronze.

The 1st World Senior Championships runs from Aug. 10 thru 16, 2013. Men and women will compete in separate divisions for medals in five events - singles, doubles, team, all-events and Masters. All participants must be 50 years of age or above in the year of the championships.

Competition continues Thursday afternoon with the first round of the Masters event. All eight players of Sweden and the U.S. finished among the top 24 in All-Events to qualify for the Masters.

- Story and photos courtesy of BowlingDigital.com