Macau bowler masters Hongkongers
Young players from Macau dominated last week's 38th Hong Kong International Open Tenpin Bowling Championships at Hong Kong Bowling City in Kowloon Bay.
Brian Lam Lek-long, 16, a Form Four student at Macau Anglican College, who plays for Macau's national youth team, won two masters titles.
The annual tournament, held since 1975, features singles and doubles competitions for under-18s (players born on, or after January 1, 1994) and under-20s (born on or after January 1, 1992). The top 15 bowlers in each category enter a best-of-10-games masters final for both girls and boys; girls had an eight-pin handicap in each game.
Brian won his first international title when he claimed the under-18 masters title last Thursday. He then lifted the under-20s masters title the next day.
Brian's Macau teammate, Zoe Dias Ma, led after four games of the under-20 masters final. Hong Kong youth team player Stanley Lau, 17, a Form Five student at Hong Kong Tang King Po College, was also pushing for victory.
The outcome remained in doubt until the end of the final game. Brian had a low-scoring ninth game, with only 172 points - his worst total of the 10games - but recovered to score 223 in the final game to finish on a total of 2,029. Stanley finished second on 2,017 and Zoe third on 2,014. Another Hong Kong youth player, David Tsang - second before the last game - was fourth, on 1,975.
Stanley says he is satisfied, even though he just missed out on the masters title. 'I didn't have high expectations,' he says. 'But I ended with a bronze medal in the youth singles, silver and bronze in the two youth doubles events, and a silver medal in the youth masters final.
'I also won the tournament's highest-scoring-game prize with 289points, so I did OK. In the final, I bowled a normal number of strikes, but missed some spares, which may be why I didn't win.'
Zoe, 20, a Year One student at Macau's Institute for Tourism Studies, says pressure affected his play. 'This was my last chance to play in the Hong Kong Open's junior category so I badly wanted to win,' he says. 'I tried too hard and made unforced errors. They cost me.'
Brian says his coach, Hongkonger Daniel Yu, helped him achieve success; he had set his sights merely on trying to win a medal and reaching the masters final.
Yu, who began coaching Macau's national team three years ago, says his young bowlers should feel confident after their fine display at the Hong Kong Open. They can finish in the top four at the World Youth Championships, in Bangkok, starting on June 22.
'We did well, finishing fifth last time - only nine points behind the US, in fourth,' he says. 'We've a good chance this year.'