BOWLS

Classic example for Hong Kong youngsters as history is created

Vivian Yip and Amy Choi make breakthrough by becoming the first local bowlers to win the women’s pairs competition at the prestigious tournament

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 November, 2015, 10:38pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 November, 2015, 11:27am

Hong Kong youth members Vivian Yip Wai-tak and Amy Choi Ging-yi said their historic victory in the women’s pairs competition at the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic bodes well for the future and could inspire a whole new generation of local stars.

The youngsters continued their charge, defeating the more heralded Australian pair of Karen Murphy and Kristina Krstic in the final to seal their place in history at Club de Recreio on Sunday.

This victory will definitely be a big boost for our bowlers. I am sure this bodes well for the development of lawn bowls in Hong Kong
Vivian Yip Wai-tak

“This victory will definitely be a big boost for our bowlers. I am sure this bodes well for the development of lawn bowls in Hong Kong,” said 23-year-old Yip, who skippered the team to a dramatic 13-8, 4-11, 2-1 victory.

“I’m relaxed right now,” said the youngster not long after their morale boosting win. “But when we won, we were really happy and excited. I have to say the sports psychology training I had really helped me. I am mentally tougher than before,” she said.

Despite being forced to play indoors on a fast green after heavy rain on Sunday morning caused havoc to the tournament – the venue was switched from Kowloon Bowling Green Club – the under-25 Hong Kong squad members rose to the occasion to become the first local women’s pairs champions since the event was introduced to the Classic in 2008.

It also completed a near clean sweep for Hong Kong bowlers, who also won the men’s and women’s singles last week.

Yip and Choi had luck on their side right at the death. Teams were tied 1-1 after two ends in the tiebreaker. Australia were holding a two-shot lead but Yip played a firing shot to take the jack into the ditch. Murphy tried to draw close to the jack but came up short by mere inches.

“Our level with the top overseas bowlers isn’t that much different. The things you need to do are train more and stay focused. I have to thank the HK Bowls Association for giving us the chance to travel overseas for training and competition.

“They have provided us with a lot of resources and support.”

Choi, 21, thanked her partner for lifting her to her biggest victory. “I had a very good partner in Vivian. She really helped me a lot. and we definitely wouldn’t have won without her. We were playing at home and that was to our advantage, too,” said Choi.

Triple world champion Murphy was disappointed things didn’t go Australia’s way in the end. “We were in control over the six ends. But she [Yip] played a good bowl to get it. The change in venues was actually good for us. It suited our game because we played a lot on the carpet [back home]. We definitely had the upperhand when we came to the carpet. We were hardly in trouble. She [Yip] played one good bowl and it was all over. We didn’t play with a lot of luck but that’s the way it goes.”

Murphy, who has held world titles in singles, fours and triples – she’s the reigning world singles champion – agreed that Hong Kong’s win would be a boost the game here.

“Definitely it’s a good story for Hong Kong.

“It’s good for the development of bowls. It’s a good story also coming off both singles wins [last week]. It’s good for the young bowlers of Hong Kong to see that they can be a success internationally, too.”

The men’s pairs final was won by Australia’s Nathan Pedersen and Corey Wedlock, who defeated Wales’ Marc Wyatt and Robert Weale 13-1, 9-4.