Sunday, December 20, 2009

Home-coming X'Mas delight for Esther

National bowler Esther Cheah saved the blushes for Malaysia when she broke the Korean domination when she came on as the challenger and won the Girls Open title defeating Lee Young Im in the stepladder finals yesterday evening at the Sunway Mega Lanes.

While Esther strived as a challenger with nerves of steel, in the Boys Open stepladder, national youth bowler, Aris Ardila, crumbled under pressure.

The 18-year-old lad from Miri who had earlier won RM50,000 for a perfect game in the final rounds, had a disastrous 143 to allow a total Korean domination in the final where Kim Jong Wook beat challenger Park Jong Woo by a mere one pin – 212-211.

The 23-year-old Esther who had last Monday was the second bowler in the championship to score a perfect game and earned RM1,000, was indeed in her element yesterday evening in the first stepladder where the second placed (Jo Hyun Jung – Korea), third placed (Shayna NG – Spore) and fourth placed (Esther) bowled.

Esther won with her 279 score as opposed to Jo’s 227 and Shayna’s 225.

In the stepladder final, Esther bounced back from an open frame (7-1), spare in the second, to find her line and score 193, while Jo struggled to find her line, and mustered 170.

In the decider, Esther again had an open frame of 6 and 3 in the first, but again bounced back to string four strikes in a row before hitting home for 217, while Jo crumbled under pressure for a final score of 198.

Esther, who had returned home on Monday for Christmas from Nebraska, USA, where she is a psychology undergraduate at the Nebraska-Lincoln University, was elated with her win.

“This is a perfect Christmas gift. I have been bowling in the All-Stars since it inaugurated ten years ago and in my final year, I win the title. (she will be overaged next year),” said Esther while hugging her mother Joy.

“I have won the Graded tournament once and twice I have come runners-up in the Open – to Siti Safiyah in 2004 and Sin Li Jane last year. I must be third lucky,” said Esther who had her father and national coach Holloway Cheah guiding her all the way.

Yesterday, Esther again showed her resilience in mind over matter when she discovered that she had a blister on her palm at the start of the stepladder. Probably her studies in psychology played a big part in overcoming the pain and agony.

“I just shut my mind on the pain and the injury, as I wanted badly to win this title,” said Esther who had shown the same kind of courage at the Doha Asian Games where despite cramps in her hand, she went to win the singles gold medal.

Esther, the 2005 World Women singles champion in Denmark and 2007 World team gold medalist in Mexico, won RM 17,000 for her victory yesterday, while Kim took home RM30,000.

But the biggest winner of the tournament was Aris who picked up a total of RM53,000 – RM 50,000 for the perfect game and RM3,000 for his fourth place in the Boys Open.

Yesterday, after Aris had scored his perfect 300 in game eight, Korea’s Jang Hong Jun fired a 300 in game nine, but he had to return home empty handed because the prize money for perfect game in the finals was only for the first bowler to achieve it.

Earlier in the championship's daily perfect game award of RM1,000, those who achieved it were Kang Bo Long (national youth), Esther, Woo Sang Young (Korea), Khoo Beng Khai (national youth), Sam Cooley (Australia) and Gregory Gan (Singapore).

Defending champion in the Boys Open, Adrian Ang finished 24th and while the Girls Open champion, Sin Li Jane, just missed the stepladder cut when she was pipped by Esther.

The All-Star Classics which is an open age championship, will be held for two days starting today at the same venue.


Boys Masters final (Stepladder):

Stepladder final: Kim Jong Wook beat Park Jong Woo (both Kor) 212-211

Semifinal stepladder: Park Jong Woo (Kor) – 254 (winner); Aloysius Goh (Spore) – 179; Aris Ardila (Nat Youth) – 143

Top four for stepladders final after 10 games:

1. Kim Jong Wook (Korea) - 2,412

2. Aloysius Goh (Spore) - 2,385

3. Aris Ardila (Nat Youth) - 2,368

4. Park Jong Woo (Kor) - 2,340

Girls Masters final (Stepladder):

Stepladder final: Esther Cheah (Nat. Elite) - 198 & 217; Lee Young Im (Kor) - 170 &198

Semifinal stepladder: Esther Cheah (National Elite) – 279 (winner); Jo Hyun Jung (Kor) – 227; Shayna Ng (Spore) – 205

Top four for stepladders final after 10 games:

1. Lee Young Im (Kor) - 2,382

2. Jo Hyun Jung (Kor) - 2,370

3. Syayna Ng (Spore) - 2,360;

4. Esther Cheah (Nat Elite) - 2,323

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