An impressive but very friendly opening ceremony for the 13 participating nations got the 14th Mediterranean Challenge Cup underway on Wednesday afternoon, the prologue to singles competition over six games which takes place at 10:00 on Thursday morning and further disciplines through the week.
Newcomers Tunisia, Slovenia and Croatia
A warm welcome from the Catalan Government Sports Director Oriol Marce opened the proceedings with a short speech and that was followed with more welcomes from ETBF President Addie Opehelders and Tournament Director Roni Ashkenazi, who spoke of the record 13-nation entry and applauded Croatia, Slovenia and Tunisia for participating for the first time.
Addie Opehlders flew into Barcelona's spanking new airport terminal just an hour before the ceremony was due to start so the proceedings were delayed for ten minutes or so, but no problem. "I'm the guy in the pink sweater," he reminded us as he did not have time to change. We forgave him due to the huge penalties if we did not.
MEN'S SINGLES GLORY FOR GREECE
Thursday, March 31 - Competition got off to a great start Thursday morning at Bowling Pedralbes, Barcelona with of Georgios Stefanidis from Patra, Greece taking the gold medal in the Men's Singles of the 14th Mediterranean Challenge Cup.
Singles medalists Stefanidis, Dogan and Reviglio
Stefanidis opened his account with 190 and 180 then fired on all cylinders with games of 266, 213, 188 and 244 to win gold with the total pinfall of 1281.
The silver medal was taken by Habib Dogan of Ankara, Turkey, just 14 pins behind the champion, and the bronze was clinched by Italy's Marco Reviglio from Turin.
20-year-old Stefanidis, a keen bowler for the past ten years, was pleased with his first medal in the Mediterranean Challenge Cup. "I have won medals in the Youth Championships," he said. "At the start here I bowled well but in the third game the lanes opened up and I did very well. I did good on lanes 1-2 with a 266."
Apart from Stefanidis, the medals came down to the final balls of the tenth frame of the last game, with Israel's Lior Yizhaq Koren and Michael Wood from Gibraltar also in the hunt for a place on the podium when the medals are presented on Saturday evening.
Stefanidis and Gibraltar's Michael Wood claim the high game of the event to date, both rolling a 266 in the third game of the Singles.
The record 13-nation event will see the women take to the lanes Thursday afternoon. Tomorrow the disciplines switch to Doubles for both divisions and then the first three of six games in the team event.
Full results and information on www.fiq.org/mcc and click on the MCC logo.
WOMEN'S SINGLES GOLD TO MALTA
Hopes by Greece of making the double of gold medals in both men's and women's singles Thursday afternoon were dashed when Sue Abela of Malta clinched the title with a six-game total of 1328, a score 47 pins better than the 1281 posted by Georgios Stafanadis of Greece to win the Men's Singles this morning.
Goron, Abela and Gill
Popularly known as the Queen of the Mediterranean, Abela is the only competitor who has played in each of the 14 Mediterranean Challenge Cups and has won medals in all but one. She showed her talents Thursday afternoon by not only topping the standings of the 12-nation women's field but by being the only competitor, man or woman, who bowled six consecutive 200-plus games in this Singles event.
There was a wide gap of 147 pins to the silver medal, won by Goron Solene of France and the bronze went to Israel's Rhona Gill, just one pin behind Solene.
"I think it was in Cyprus in 2002 that I failed to win a Mediterranean Cup medal," commented Abela. "I always look forward to this event, I enjoy it a lot. I enjoy being here, with all the Mediterranean countries . It is a great tournament and I like to keep up my reputation as Queen of the Mediterranean.
"With 13 nations, this year is better than ever and Bowling Pedralbes is great to play in. With so many countries now it is tougher to get to the top and keep playing.
"I was mentally very good today. I trained hard, using the third arrow with a new ball with better rotation, a better approach and I came here focused 100 per cent."
Abela left it until the last game for her high score of the series, a 245, but the honour of rolling the high game in the women's field goes to Slovenia's Mihela Krizman with a 257.
Competition continues Friday morning with the Women's Doubles opening the proceedings, then the men take to the lanes for their doubles stint. In the evening the mixed teams will play the first three of their six games.
Full details on: www.fiq.org/mcc and click on the large MCC logo.
TOP MARKS FOR MALTA IN THE WOMEN'S DOUBLES
Competition was extremely tight as the 12-nation women's field took the delightful lanes of Bowling Pedralbes in Barcelona on Friday morning, April 1, for the distaff Doubles discipline of the 14th Mediterranean Challenge Cup, superbly organized by Promedia.
(L to R) Greece, Malta and France
Once again, the scores came down to the final balls of the tenth frame of the sixth and final game before the medals could be announced. Finally, the bright lights shone on the Maltese Women's Doubles pairing of Sue Abela and Tiziana Carannante showing them the way to the top of the podium on Saturday evening for the medal ceremony.
It took a total pinfall of 2340 for the talented Maltese pair to win gold, 34 pins more than second-placed Greece for silver as Georgia Sagona and Martha Karatzoula scored 2306. Taking third place for the bronze medals are Lauriane Celie and Solene Goron of France, 22 pins aback of the Greek duo.
Sue Abela will stand atop the podium for her second gold medal of this prestigious event having clinched first place in the Ladies' Singles yesterday evening, keeping her record run of medals in all but one of the 14 Mediterranean Challenge Cups intact. For partner Carannante, this is the third MCC for her resume and she has medals in all three.
"It was a lot tougher on the lanes today," Sue Abela said. "I was a bit stiffer and struggled on lanes 5 and 6 and I wasn't quite as focused as yesterday, but we managed to win the gold, so all is good."
"I'm pleased to add gold to the two bronze MCC medals," said Carannante. "I think that being left-handed I had a small advantage as I didn't have to move so much as (right-handed) Sue."
"A lot depends on the teams your are following as to how the lanes play," commented Abela, "but maybe it was tougher for me today because I woke up too early this morning."
Abela scored 1236 over her six games this morning and Carannante provided 1104 for the winning total of 2340.
The Maltese pair will be joined by male team members Neil Sullivan and Mark Spiteri after the Men's Doubles for the first three of six games in the Team event later this evening.
DOUBLE GOLD FOR GREECE
No double troubles for the boys from Greece,
hitting the high spots with a convincing win in the Men's Doubles at Bowling
Pedralbes, Barcelona on a warm and sunny Friday afternoon.
Georgios Stefanidis from Patra, Greece and Athens
partner Evaggelos Krizinis put together a nice 2551 to take the gold medal to
deny the Turkish duo the glory. Ankara's Habib Dogan and Taygun Erkeskin
managed to take the lead in mid-session of the six-game discipline but suffered
lower scores on the fial two game run in, so settle for silver with 2502.
Medalists Turkey, Greece and Israel
Israel had Rhona Gill with a bronze medal in the
Women's Singles and added another bronze to that tally with Koren Lior and Ron
Berlov shooting 2473 for third place.
There was quite a tussle through the final game
for the bronze medal position with Israel, Malta and home team Catalonia
fighting for the last place on the podium. It was Ron Berlov who bought the
treasue to Israel with a final 214.
No one was more overjoyed that Greece's Georgios
Stefanidis, so ecstatic over winning his second gold medal.
"I am very happy with the second gold with
my mate Evaggelos and I look forward to winning yet another medal," he
said. "This is the second Mediterranean championships for me and since
last year in cyprus I haven't won any medals, so I am very happy with my
Evaggelos added: "I am also very happy with
this gold medal and am looking forward to even more It is very nice here in Barcelona and I am very
much enjoying being here with the team. Georgis and I are team-mates from the
time we were 15 years old and we are both European champions from 2007 and
The men just had a very short break before being
joined by their womenfolk for the first three of six games in the team event,
consisting of two men and two women. The second block of three games takes
place early Saturday morning then the top eight men and eight women in all
events, the total score over their 18 games, will advance to the best of three
game knockout Masters.
TURKEY RULES THE ROOST
For quite a while it looked as though the Greeks were going to dominate the first three games of the Mixed Team, placing themselves in the running for gold in the third
The Turkish quartet, plus coach Recep Cinar
discipline, but a superb three-game run of 705 from Turkey's Habib Dogan set his quartet in first place at the halfway stage but Greece are hot on their tails with just a nine-point deficit to make up when the second three-game block takes to the Bowling Pedralbes lanes tomorrow morning.
Also in the running are the local stars of Catalonia, 31 points aback of Greece and the French are in fourth place.
Saturday's schedule highlights the conclusion of the team event and then the Masters for the top eight men and eight women, playing best of three game knockout rounds, before the televised semi-finals and final.
The Men's All Events table, set after 15 games, has Habib Dogan of Eryham, Ankara, turkey in pole position with just three more games to complete the 18 game stint.
The Rollhouse bowling center manager has a totasl pinfall of 3299, a 219.93 average and heads doubles gold medalists Evaggelos Kizinis and George Stefanidis from Greece on 3170 and 3140 respectively in second and third place.
The field cuts to eight at the close of the team event and sitting on the cusp is Matez Fegus of Slovenia, one of the three newcomer nations to this year's MCC.
On the distaff side, Sue Abela from Malta, now christened Queen of the Mediterranean, has an impressive 3168 (211.20) total pinfall to hold first place, the only woman to better a 200 average. sue holds a 267 pin advantage over second placed Solene Goron of France (2891/192.73). Cypriot Niki Schiza holds third place with 2886/192.40.
Current eighth place for the best of three-game Masters is Ebru Ozogluunter of Turkey, 2804 and 186.93.
FRANCE TO THE FORE
Overnight leaders in the four-person team event of the 14th Mediterranean Challenge Cup, the gallant quartet from Turkey, were not able to maintain their travel on all six cylinders Saturday morning and dropped from first place to seventh over the last three games.
Honors for the gold went to France in a close fought final game, winning the top place on the podium with just a nine-pin buffer over Greece, 4877 - 4868. Home team Catalonia were flying high after games four and five, but they too faded in the home straight but have the consolation of being in the medal count and will have the bronze for their effort of 4727.
Turkey's Habib Dogan tops the men's all events table and therefore will treasure the gold medal. Talented Greeks Georgis Stefanidis and Eveggelos Krizinis take silver and bronze repectively to add to their haul from Doubles, Stefanidis also clinching Singles.
Sue Abela from Malta, of course, takes the ladies' gold with a handsome 3771 count over the 18 games, an average of 209.5, the only woman to top 200. Slim Solene Goron from France held on for silver and the bronze went to Italy's Helga Biaga di Benedetto with 3442.
The final discipline of this 14th edition of the MCC is the Masters, featuring the top eight men and women competing head-to-head over the best of three games.
The finals of both divisions will be televised and web streamed live on www.fiqtv and www.tbowling.cat at 16:30 CET.
Three of the four matches in the men's Masters quarterfinal were decided 2-0 and thr fourth went to 2-1.
All Events leader Habib Dogan of Turkey beat Ron Berlov of Israel as first of the 2-0 winners and was quickly followed by local player Marcial Ovide of Catalonia, taking out Frenchman Yoni Billiaut 2-0.
Greece versus Italy and Marco Reviglio from Turin beat Doubles gold medalist Evaggelos Kristinis from Athens over the two games and rounding off the openers, the other Greek, Georgios Stefanidis went into the third game to beat Israeli Lior Koren.
The line-up for the semi-finals in Dogan versus Ovide and Stefanidis against Reviglio.
No problem for Sue Abela of Malta to win her first match, two 200-plus games gave her a 2-0 win over Israel's Rhona Gill, but the other three matches went the distance.
Many cheers for Catalonian Sandra Torrents, keeping local hopes of further medals alive with her 2-1 victory over Martha Karatzoula of Greece. The all-French confrontation betweek Solene Goron and Lauriance Celie went the latter's way and finally Helga Biaga de Benedetto of Italy had to say ciao to Niki Schiza of Cyprus.
Abela will face Torrents and Celie against Schiza for a place in the final.
As your writer is now preparing for the TV commentary and not able to update this website until later, please check: www.fiq.org/mcc for current results.
GOLD FOR CYPRUS AND ITALY
The Masters' gold medals were won by Niki Schiza of Cyprus and Italy's Marco Reviglio.
Schiza defeated Catalonia's Sandra Torrents to take the ladies' crown over two games The two bronze medals were taken by Lauriance Celie of France and Sue Abela of Malta.
The Catalonians had one more chance of taking the gold when local hero Marcial Ovide came up against Italy's Marco Reviglio. The mastch went the full distance of three games but the Italian was far too strong, winning the third game for a 245-177 for a 2-1 victory. The men's bronze medals were presented to Habib Dogan of Turkey and Georgios Stefanidis of Greece.
The 2012 Mediterranean Challenge Cup will be hosted by San Marino at the Rose 'n Bowl in Serravalle and in 2013 it will be held for the first time in Slovenia at a date still to be announced.
The format for the 2012 event will also include a mixed doubles discipline and the finals will be decided over two games, total pinfall, instead of best of three games. This will facilitate TV and web stream scheduling.
For full details please see: www,fiq.org/mcc. click on large logo for more details.