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Back-to-back titles for Finn

15th December, Doha: Two-time PBA Player of the Year, Mika Koivuniemi won his second consecutive international title after outclassing Tony Ranta in the all-Finish finals of the 12th Qatar Bowling Open on Saturday.


Koivuniemi, who topped both the Step 1 and Step 2 finals to advance into the Step 3 semi-finals, took a 32 pin lead over his compatriot, Tony Ranta in the first game with a 278-246 win. The top seed was unstoppable as he got all his shot into the pocket and almost came off with an identical scoreline in the second game.

It was a seemingly perfect pocket shot in the tenth frame but left 7-10 split to end the second game with another 266-225 victory to take the title with a two-game total of 544 against Ranta's 471.

"This is my first title in this part of the world and I'm glad I finally broke that jinx," said the 45-year-old owner of 10 PBA titles. "It's been a good two weeks especially coming off with a victory in the Japan Cup.

"I was using the Track 811 CT throughout today and the ball worked just great. Tony (Ranta) rallied on well but I guessed I had better luck this time. I lost to Dominic Barrett last year in the final frame of the second game and I made sure it wasn't going to happen again this time.


2012 Champion
Mika Koivuniemi lifting the champion's trophies


The champion had earlier ousted fourth-seed, Martin Larsen of Sweden 442-385 to advance into the championship match while 21-year-old Ranta, who won the Chandra Open in the Netherlands this year, edged PBA pro, Tommy Jones of the United States, 389-361 in the other semi-final.


Koivuniemi pocketed the top prize of 30,000 Euro, the 19th and final stop of this year's Eurpoean Bowling Tour. In addition, the victory also earn the lanky Finn his 11th PBA title as this tournament is the first leg of the 2012/2013 PBA-World Bowling Tour.

Ranta settled for 14,000 Euro as Jones and Larsen took home 5,000 Euro each. Dominic Barrett of England and Birgit Poppler of Germany emerged as 2012 EBT champions to earn 2,000 Euro each.

Mr Kevin Dornberger, President of FIQ and WTBA together with Mr Salam Abbas, President of Qatar Bowling Federation, presented the prizes to the winners. Mr Kim Jensen, Vice President of EBF and Tour Director, presented the prizes to the EBT champions.

A total of 142 bowlers from 26 countries took part in this year's tournament generating 598 entries. 68 players were from the GCC, 9 from other Arab countries, 12 from the American zone, 40 from Europe and 13 from Asia.


Top 3 Winners
Top 3 winners, Ranta, Koivuniemi and Jones


The World Bowling Tour Finals will feature a total prize fund of $70,000. The top three men and top three women will bowl a stepladder finals format in their respective divisions. The prize money for each division is the same, with the winner taking $20,000, second place earning $10,000 and third place winning $5,000.

The World Tenpin Bowling Association, which is made up of 115 bowling federations, governs the sport throughout the world. For more information on WTBA and the World Bowling Tour, visit www.worldtenpinbowling.com.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Doha, Qatar.

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