Azriq and Alyaa miss out on golds but have bright future

Rising stars: Ahmad Azriq Izamudin (left) and Alyaa Addini Zulamri posing with their silver medals at the International Bowling Federation Under-21 World Championships in Sweden.

PETALING JAYA: It was a case of so near, yet so far for junior bowlers Ahmad Azriq Izamudin and Alyaa Addini Zulamri in the International Bowling Federation (IBF) Under-21 World Championships.

They were a whisker away from the gold medal after having reached the final roll-off in the men’s and women’s singles events.

Alas, their rivals proved too strong in the showdown and they had to settle for the runners-up medal.

The 19-year-old Azriq, who has an unorthodox two-handed delivery style, lost to Sweden’s Carl Eklund 1-2 in the final at the Olympia Bowling Arena in Helsingborg, Sweden.

Azriq won the first game 227-193 but Eklund bounced back to win the second 258-247.

In the decider, Eklund was imperious as he trounced Azriq 279-192.

Earlier, Azriq came from behind to beat South Korea’s Bae Jung-hun 2-1 in the semi-final. He lost the first game 192-258 but won the next two at 278-269 and 262-258.

Azriq’s silver in his debut was the first for Malaysia in the Under-21 world meet.

In the women’s final, 21-year-old Alyaa got off to a great start in the first game but a resurgent Singaporean Colleen Pee bowled consistently to win 213-190.

The second was an entertaining neck-and-neck affair with a tie-breaker needed when the score stood at 212-212.

Colleen stamped her class with a 60-40 win.

In the semi-finals, Alyaa beat Puerto Rico’s Zoriani Reyes 2-0 (236-203, 203-193).

Despite the good showing, Alyaa was unhappy.

“I feel quite disappointed with myself today because I already threw a good shot but ended up in second place. No doubt Colleen did well and had better pin-carry,” said Alyaa.

“All I can say is that I’m still grateful for the silver medal, but I need to improve on my game.”

Malaysian pair Airel Amri Suhaimi and Megat Zaqrul Haiqal Megat Zairudin won bronze in the men’s doubles after losing 2-0 to Sweden’s Eklund and Robin Ilhammar in the semi-final. The Swedes won 208-189 and 259-189.

Team manager Maradona Chok hailed the fighting spirit shown by Alyaa and Azriq in the singles final.

“Both of them fought and made some great shots. They didn’t go down without a fight.

“That to me must be lauded, especially in their first international competition after two years.”

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