Local youngsters show class to reach the final of the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic
Hong Kong youth members Vivian Yip Wai-tak and Amy Choi Ging-yi belied their years to make history by reaching the final of the women's pairs competition at the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic on Saturday.
The under-25 squad members became the first HK team to enter the final of the women's competition and it marked another significant achievement by local bowlers, who last week swept the men's and women's singles titles at the Kowloon Bowling Green Club.
Yip, 23, and Choi, 21, defeated the more heralded Malaysian pair of Siti Zalina Ahmad and Azlina Arshad 11-5, 10-5. The local pair earned a meeting with Australia's Kristina Krstic and Karen Murphy, who defeated Scotland's Anne Dunwoodie and Claire Johnston 9-5, 10-7 in the other semi-final.
"This is the best result for us in this competition but we are not going to be overawed by Australia," said Yip. "We have beaten the Australian pair before so we will have confidence going into the final."
"Our form has been good so far in this tournament. We have improved because we have had more exposure and more experience," she said.
Yip and Amy's semi-final win came as a surprise but Yip had already made her mark in 2011 when she became the youngest-ever Hong Kong indoor singles champion at 19.
It's the first time in 10 years that a Hong Kong youth team have reached the final of a pairs competition after Ken Chan Kin-che and Lee Ka-ho were finalists in the men's competition in 2005.
"I've been playing bowls for eight years, while Amy has less experience than me. I can't believe I will be up against Karen Murphy in the final. She is my idol. I have played her before in the world indoor tournament in 2012 when I lost to her in the quarter-finals," said Yip.
Murphy is a triple world champion - singles, fours and triples - and expects a close tussle in the final.
"Our men [Australia] also reached the pairs final so we will be hoping for a double [today]," said Murphy, 40, who partners under-25 squad member Krstic.
"We're playing a youth team in the final. It's been a long week. We played 11 matches in our section and we had a very hard game [semi] against Scotland," said Murphy. "The Hong Kong girls will have the fans behind them."
Australia's Nathan Pedersen and Corey Wedlock beat Ireland's Mark Wilson and Andrew Duncan 11-2, 7-7 to reach the men's final against Wales' Marc Wyatt and Robert Weale.
The women's final will start at 10am and the men's final follows at 2pm.