Jesper Svensson defeats Jason Belmonte to win 13th Bahrain International Championship



    Swedish two-handed lefty wins his first PBA title and second World Bowling Tour title along with the $25,000 top prize

    2015BahrainChampionshipJesperSvensson.jpgIn a title match between two two-handed players, lefty Jesper Svensson (pictured left with check and trophies) defeated Jason Belmonte of Australia, who delivers the bowling ball from the right-hand side, 258-244, to win the 13th Kingdom of Bahrain International Bowling Championship Saturday at Ozone Entertainment Center in Sitra.

    The 20-year-old reigning World Youth Masters champion won his first Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) title and his second World Bowling Tour title along with the $25,000 top prize. The first WBT title came in the 43rd Brunswick Ballmaster Open at the age of 17.

    2015BahrainChampionshipTop3.jpgTwo-time PBA Player of the Year Belmonte (left), who defeated Finnish-American Mika Koivuniemi (right) in the semi-final match, 214-206, earned $12,500 for second place while Koivuniemi got $8,000 for third place.

    Svensson, who finished qualifying in 20th place, had to bowl four six-game rounds, two on Friday and two on Saturday, to make the stepladder finals, while Ruiz (4th) and Belmonte (10th) earned three and two byes for the finals, respectively, due to their qualifying positions. Photos courtesy of Asian Bowling Federation.

    Svensson, who joined the PBA in August 2014, led all four rounds averaging 239.83, 237.17, 244.50 and 243.17 (5788 pinfall total, an average of 241.17 for 24 games) en route to earn the No. 1 seed for the three-player stepladder finals. According to the tournament rules, the top-seeded player had to be defeated twice to win the title.

    2014EBT16IldemaroRuiz.jpgImageBelmonte earned the No. 2 seed after barely surviving Round 4 when he finished his six-game block with 158, holding off fellow PBA champion Tom Daugherty, United States, by mere three pins after Daugherty closed with 257.

    2013 Bahrain champion Koivuniemi tied Venezuela's Ildemaro Ruiz (left) for third place after Ruiz achieved perfection in Round 5, the tournament's second 300 game (Marshall Kent, USA, had the first in qualifying). Koivuniemi advanced to the semifinal round by winning a one-game roll-off over Ruiz, 216-183.

    Tannya Roumimper (right) of Indonesia, who won her first World Bowling Tour title in the H.H. Emir Cup last week, finished as the highest woman in the tournament in seventh place.

    The 13th Kingdom of Bahrain International Bowling Championship was the ninth tournament on the 2015 World Bowling Tour and the qualifying event for the Bahrain leg, the second event on the 2015 Asian Bowling Federation (ABF) Tour (March 8).

    The Bahrain Championship was held from March 2-7 at Ozone Entertainment Center, a 12-laner inside the Sitra Mall in Sitra, Bahrain. Players competed for total prize money of US$104,050 with $25,000 going to the winner, $12,500 to the runner-up and $8,000 to the third place finisher. In addition the tournament offered a $1,000 bonus for the first 300 game.

    According to an agreement between World Bowling and the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), the Bahrain Championship awarded a PBA title, if won by a PBA member.

    Qualifying (two 6-game series; unlimited re-entries) ran from February 16-21 for local bowlers and March 2-5 for international bowlers (three squads per day). Women and youth bowlers (age 17 and younger) received seven pins handicap each game.

    Total 30 players advanced to the finals on Friday and Saturday, March 6 & 7, including the top 27 qualifiers, the next two Bahrainis and the top-ranked woman.

    Players 1-6 (top 5 plus the next Bahraini) received three byes. Players 7-12 received two byes and players 13-18 earned one bye. The remaining 12 players advanced to the second round.

    Rounds 2-5 consisted of six games scratch with the top six players advancing to the next round with the exception of Round 5, where the top three players advanced to the stepladder finals.

    The No. 2 seed bowled the No. 3 seed in the semifinal match. The winner of that game took on the top-seeded player for the title and the US$25,000 first-place check. According to the tournament rules, the No. 1 seed must be defeated twice to win the title.

    WBTLogo_small.jpg The 2015 World Bowling Tour, which actually got underway in November 2014, currently consists of 19 tournaments in the Middle East (8), United States (7), Asia (2) and Europe (2) including seven "majors" and 12 regular tournaments.

    Players earn ranking points based on how they finish in each event. The current points system is based on a continuous two-year cycle, so some points earned in 2013 and all points from the 2014 and 2015 are added to determine the points list.

    The top three men and top three women in the WBT points list will be invited to compete in the 2015 World Bowling Tour Finals in the beginning of 2016.

    World Bowling provides governance to international bowling and is made up of 134 bowling international federations. For more information on the World Bowling Tour, click here.

    The World Bowling Tour moves to Munich, Germany, next week for the Brunswick Euro Challenge, which will be held March 14-22 at Dream Bowl Palace.


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    13th Kingdom of Bahrain International Bowling Championship - Stepladder Finals

    Ozone Entertainment Center in Sitra, Bahrain (March 2-7, 2015)

    Championship Round:
    1. Jesper Svensson, Sweden, $25,000
    2. Jason Belmonte, Australia, $12,500
    3. Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, $8,000

    Playoff Results:
    Semifinal Match: No. 2 Belmonte def. No. 3 Koivuniemi, 214-206
    Championship: No. 1 Svensson def. Belmonte, 258-244.


    13th Bahrain Championship - Places 4-30 (cashers)

    Players with position, country and earnings

    4. Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, $6,000
    5. Wes Malott, United States, $5,000
    6. Mike Fagan, United States, $3,500
    7. Tannya Roumimper, Indonesia, $3,000
    8. Marshall Kent, United States, $2,800
    9. Khaled Al-Dubyyan, Kuwait, $2,700
    10. Yousif Falah, Bahrain, $2,600
    11. Martin Larsen, Sweden, $2,500
    12. Tim Mack, United States, $2,250
    13. Tom Daugherty, United States, $2,000
    14. Cherie Tan, Singapore, $2,000
    15. Jazreel Tan, Singapore, $2,000
    16. Danielle McEwan, United States, $2,000
    17. Tommy Jones, United States, $2,000
    18. Bernice Lim, Singapore, $2,000
    19. Brad Angelo, United States, $1,500
    20. Michael Mak, Hong Kong, $1,500
    21. Osku Palermaa, Finland, $1,500
    22. Rakan Al-Ameeri, Kuwait, $1,500
    23. Andres Gomez, Colombia, $1,500
    24. Muhammad Jaris Goh, Singapore, $1,500
    25. New Hui Fen, Singapore, $1,200
    26. Missy Parkin, United States, $1,200
    27. Mohammed Janahi, Bahrain, $1,200
    28. Abdulla A. Karim, Bahrain, $1,200
    29. Jason Sterner, United States, $1,200
    30. Christopher Sloan, Ireland, $1,200


    13th Bahrain Championship - Round Five Results

    Top 3 advance to the stepladder finals.

    Koivuniemi defeated Ruiz in a one-game roll-off for third place, 216-183.


    13th Bahrain Championship - Round Four Results

    Top 6 meet qualifiers 1-6 in Round Five.


    13th Bahrain Championship - Round Three Results

    Top 6 meet qualifiers 7-12 in Round Four.


    13th Bahrain Championship - Round Two Results

    Top 6 meet qualifiers 13-18 in Round Three.