PETALING JAYA: Debutant Ethan Damian Goh was one game away from the gold medal before he blew up with a poor 186 in the sixth and final game to settle for bronze on the opening day of the 23rd Asian Junior Bowling Championships at the Sunway Mega Lanes in Bandar Sunway here today.

The 14-year-old produced a consistent performance to knock down lines of 224-225-202-226-245 in the first five games to take the lead in the boys’ singles event.

Just when victory beckoned, Ethan crumbled under the weight of expectations, rolling down just 186 pins for a six-game total of 1,308 pinfalls to allow Mark Leong of Singapore B to take gold with 1,321 pinfalls and Macau’s Chan Chun Lok (1,311) the silver.

“I feel very happy and very excited also. Thank you everyone for supporting and helping me... I do feel sad a bit (lost the number one spot) but it’s okay, I got third... at least still in the top three,” he said after the prize-giving ceremony today.

Ethan can still strike gold as he will be in action in the doubles event tomorrow and the team event on Thursday (June 20).

He, however, admitted that it won’t be easy, saying: “I must be wiser in making decisions about changing the bowling ball in the remaining events.”

Another debutant, Qurratu’ain Izdihar Mohd Pozi also delivered a bronze for Malaysia in the girls’ singles event when she knocked down 1,274 pins to finish behind Singapore A’s Salsabila Zulkifli (1,395) and Singapore B’s Ella Tan (1,322).

“Initially, I didn’t think I could win because I struggled in the first three games. Then, after the third game, I decided to change the ball and it gave me a good impact... so, I kept using the same ball,” said the 16-year-old Qurratu’ain Izdihar, who will also be competing in the girls’ doubles and team events.

Meanwhile, national coach Azidi Ameran said: “We targeted the gold medals but at least we got two bronze medals. That’s still a good achievement, especially as they are new and rarely sent out to compete. So, I am proud of them.”

A total of 14 teams, including Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, China, Indonesia, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Macau and Pakistan, are competing in the eight-day Asian Junior Tenpin Bowling Championships, which will end on Sunday (June 23).