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Korea Wins Team Gold at World Women's Championships

LAS VEGAS - For the second time this week, the bowlers from Korea stood atop the medal stand at the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Women's Championships and celebrated a hard-earned gold medal.

This time, they stood together as a team after defeating Team USA, 1,175-1,071, to win the five-player team event at Cashman Center on Saturday night. Their previous win came in doubles two nights earlier.

"I feel incredibly proud and happy right now," Kim Yeau-Jin said. "We work so hard together, and team success is our biggest goal. It has been a long road, and this is a great prize."

Kim and Jeon Eun-Hee led the way in the championship match, each rolling 258 games, and they were followed by Son Yun-Hee (257), Hwang Sun-Ok (212) and Gang Hye-Eun (190). It was Hwang and Gang who claimed the doubles gold medal with a win over Australia's Carol Gianotti and Ann Maree Putney on Thursday.

The Korean team started Saturday with the highest three-game team effort in WTBA World Women's Championships history and never looked back. The group opened with 3,433 on the short oil pattern (WTBA Stockholm, 34 feet) and added 3,171 on the medium pattern (WTBA Athens, 40 feet) in the afternoon to earn the top seed with a record 6,604 six-game effort.

Team USA found itself in familiar territory after six games of team competition, qualifying second behind Korea with 6,451, but hoped the tournament's new format would work in its favor.

In previous years, the winners were determined by total pinfall, so instead of settling for a third-consecutive team silver medal without a fight, the format change gave Team USA a chance to battle for the gold.

After six qualifying games, the field of 35 teams was cut to the top four for head-to-head match play. Team USA defeated No. 3 Singapore, 1,035-934, in one semifinal, while Korea downed No. 4 Sweden, 1,041-974, in the other.

Korea struck early and often in the championship match, and Team USA couldn't gain any momentum. Liz Johnson led the way with a 259 game and was followed by USBC Hall of Famer Carolyn Dorin-Ballard (232), singles gold medalist Stefanie Nation (225), Kim Terrell-Kearney (189) and 12-time Team USA member Lynda Barnes (166). USBC Hall of Famer Wendy Macpherson helped the team to the semifinal win against Singapore.

"We did all we could do, and we just weren't supposed to win tonight," said Barnes, who earned her third-consecutive team silver medal. "Of course I'm disappointed, but we couldn't have worked any harder, and we couldn't have been any more prepared."

At the 2005 event in Aalborg, Denmark, Team USA finished 12 pins behind Chinese Taipei, and two years later in Monterrey, Mexico, it was silver again, just seven pins behind Malaysia. The last time the United States claimed the team gold medal was at the 1987 event in Helsinki, Finland.

This year's tournament marks the first time professionals are allowed to compete at the World Women's Championships, and competitors from 45 countries have competed in singles, doubles, trios and team so far this week. The final event is the Masters competition, which starts Sunday morning and includes the top 16 players in the all-events standings.

Colombia's Clara Guerrero won the all-events gold medal with a 5,330 total for 24 games and will lead the top 16 players beginning Sunday morning at 11 a.m. EDT. Sweden's Helen Johnsson claimed the silver medal with 5,278, and Dorin-Ballard won bronze with 5,195. Team USA's Nation and Johnson also qualified for Masters competition, finishing 10th and 12th, respectively. Competition will be broadcast live on bowl.com throughout the day.

2009 WTBA WORLD WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIPS (at Cashman Center, Las Vegas)Saturday's Results

TEAMGold medal: KoreaSilver medal: United StatesBronze medal: Singapore, Sweden

Semifinals(1) Korea def. (4) Sweden, 1,041-974 (Hwang Sun-Ok 210, Gang Hye-Eun 208, Jeon Eun-Hee 226, Hong Su-Yeon 204, Kim Yeau-Jin 193; Malin Glendert 214, Nina Flack 192, Victoria Johansson 154, Veronica Lantto 196, Helen Johnsson 218)(2) United States def. (3) Singapore, 1,035-934 (Carolyn Dorin-Ballard 186, Kim Terrell-Kearney 235, Wendy Macpherson 179, Stefanie Nation 189, Liz Johnson 246; Jasmine Yeong-Nathan 178, Bernice Lim 184, Cherie Tan 172, Shayna Ng 176, Jazreel Tan 224)

Final (1) Korea def. (2) United States, 1,175-1,071 (Hwang Sun-Ok 212, Gang Hye-Eun 190, Jeon Eun-Hee 258, Son Yun-Hee 257, Kim Yeau-Jin 258; Carolyn Dorin-Ballard 232, Kim Terrell-Kearney 189, Lynda Barnes 166, Stefanie Nation 225, Liz Johnson 259)(Qualifying; top four after six games advanced to semifinals)1, Korea, 6,604; 2, United States, 6,451; 3, Singapore, 6,389; 4, Sweden, 6,357; 5, Denmark, 6,254; 6, Malaysia, 6,244; 7, England, 6,193; 8, Netherlands, 6,148; 9, Venezuela, 6,144; 10, Japan, 6,119

ALL-EVENTSGold medal: Clara Guerrero, ColombiaSilver medal: Helen Johnsson, SwedenBronze medal: Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, United States

Top 20(24 games; top 16 advance to Masters)1, Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 5,330; 2, Helen Johnsson, Sweden, 5,278; 3, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, United States, 5,195; 4, Rikke Rasmussen, Denmark, 5,183; 5, Mai Ginge Jensen, Denmark, 5,165; 6, Krista Pollanen, Finland, 5,149; 7, Hwang Sun-Ok, Korea, 5,145; 8, Maki Nakano, Japan, 5,130; 9, Jeon Eun-Hee, Korea, 5,126; 10, Stefanie Nation, United States, 5,121;11, Gang Hye-Eun, Korea, 5,108; 12, Liz Johnson, United States, 5,104; 13, Cherie Tan, Singapore, 5,100; 14, Son Yun-Hee, Korea, 5,093; 15, Putty Armein, Indonesia, 5,081; 16, Siti Safiyah, Malaysia, 5,078; 17, Tina Hulsch, Germany, 5,066; 18, Britt Brondsted, Denmark, 5,061; 19, Lisa John, England, 5,049; 20, Anja Ginge Jensen, Denmark, 5,043.

By Matt Cannizzaro