Neil Sullivan takes silver medal in Commonwealth Championship

Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 13:20

Play has gotten underway in the fifth edition of the Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships, which are being held in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Malta’s participating team of four is made up of Sue Abela, Tiziana Carannante, Justin Caruana Scicluna and Neil Sullivan, and the latter has already made his mark on the proceedings by claiming a singles silver medal, the very first award in the men’s division for Malta in Commonwealth history.

The Men’s Singles was the first event of the Championships, rolling off early on Monday morning. Sullivan and Caruana Scicluna were among 25 male participants hailing from thirteen Commonwealth nations, competing over six games for simple total pinfall. Caruana Scicluna placed 19th after a disappointing series, finishing on 1150 pins (191.7 ave) having only breached the 200 mark twice, and shooting a low final game of 156.

Neil Sullivan (left), Zulmazran Zulkifli (centre) and Guillaume Louv (right) during a press conference held after the Men’s Singles event in Malaysia.

Neil Sullivan (left), Zulmazran Zulkifli (centre) and Guillaume Louv (right) during a press conference held after the Men’s Singles event in Malaysia.

Neil Sullivan, however, settled much more easily into his game, rolling a 244 opening game, then dropping to a 185, before bowling an inspired 277 in the third. Then in the back three, Sullivan shot games of 194, 235 and 258 to finish with a 1393 total, meaning a brilliant 232.2 game average. Having managed to stave off strong challenges from South Africa’s Guillaume Louv (1384 pins) and Malaysian Adrian Ang (1345), Sullivan’s tally was enough to earn him no less than a silver medal, behind the second Malaysian bowler, Zulmazran Zulkifli, who clinched Gold just 33 pins ahead of the Maltese bowler.

While Malta has enjoyed medal success in the female division in past Commonwealth Championships, Neil Sullivan’s achievement today makes him the first male Maltese bowler to earn any such award.

Ladies: Sue Abela places 7th

The Ladies Singles event got underway shortly after then men’s session was over, and in spite of a shaky start, Sue Abela managed to place seventh among the field of 26 ladies competing. After a 194 opening game, a 154 in the second saw Abela tumble down the standings. Ever the fighter however, Sue responded with a 245 and a 214 to pull herself back into it, and then finished with games of 169 and 209 for a 1185 total (197.5 ave).

Tiziana Carannante’s first experience of the Commonwealth Championships has started with her taking a respectable 17th place from 26, with an event total of 1023 (170.5 ave). The ladies’ event was won by Siti Amirah of Malaysia, with Singaporean Shanya Ng in second place and and yet another Malaysian, Zandra Aziela in third place.

The Maltese contingent are especially happy to be taking part in these Championships, as their trip did not get off to a very good start. The team and officials were to leave Malta last Friday, but before take-off from MIA, their plane was struck by a luggage container, thrown up by gale force winds. The resulting damage caused a delay, with team Malta forced to depart the following day instead.

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