PETALING JAYA: Sarawak’s bowling rising star Abner Loo brought cheers to the home crowd when he won the Youth Open category of the Sarawak Open for his maiden international title.
The 18-year-old from Sibu fended off a spirited challenge from Muhd Arash Pakharrurazi to win 212-174 at the Megalanes Sarawak in Kuching yesterday.
Arash, a member of the Kuala Lumpur Sukma team, won the first game 216-191 to cancel out Abner’s top seed advantage in the 1+1 format final (challenger needs a two-game victory to emerge champion).
Abner was over the moon after securing the biggest win of his career.
He came close at the Hong Kong Open last year, finishing second in the Under-18 category.
“I’m so, so happy to win today. And to do it in my home state is just so awesome,” said Abner, who pocketed RM5,000 for his effort.
“And it’s also the best thing to happen to me for the second straight month after I scored straight As in my SPM exams last month.”
“I’ve stopped training completely before the SPM and continued after the exams ended. I’m glad my hard work has paid off with today’s victory.
“Now, my aim is to make the Sukma squad and bring glory to my state.”
Abner had earlier topped the 60-player standings by posting an eight-game total of 1,837 pinfalls. Matthew Ong was second after chalking up 1,756 while Arash booked the last spot for the stepladder finals by coming in third with 1,755.
In the first stepladder match, Arash outclassed Matthew 209-143.
None of the eight national youth squad members impressed in the contest with their best-finisher Sushanor Sihanor managing only 11th spot.
The tournament resumes today with 60 players battling for the Open crown and an RM18,000 jackpot.
Defending champion Adrian will be challenged not only by formidable teammates such as Rafiq Ismail, Sin Li Jane, Timmy Tan and Natasha Roslan, but also top international bowlers including South Korean professional Jeong Tae-hwa.