Organizers of the European Youth Championships in the Austrian capital Vienna didn't have to switch national anthems after the Masters category finals as Denmark swept them both. A fantastic bowling performance by Karen Kærgaard Nielsen and Nicolas Carter made today's Easter celebration even better for the Great Danes.
After Doubles, Teams, and Singles events, the twenty-four best male and female performers, after eighteen qualification games, advanced to the Masters category of best-of-two Match Play for the most notable medals.
Gold medal - Karen Kærgaard Nielsen (Denmark)
Silver medal - Emilie Marie Aas (Norway)
Bronze medals - Elissa Mehmet (Sweden) | Milla Patricia Hansen (Denmark)
In Girls Masters, later champion Karen Kærgaard Nielsen skipped the first step as she finished fifth and was among the eight best performers after eighteen qualification games.
In Step 2, she faced No. 14 seed Jenny Mathiesen of Sweden, who overcame Croatia's Vivian Vanjac 2-0 (191-182, 213-203). Although J. Mathiesen held up close in both matches, Karen Kærgaard Nielsen won her ticket to the quarter-finals keeping a clean sheet 2-0 (225-190, 200-193).
Duel in a quarter-finals Karen Kærgaard Nielsen started with a cold shower, losing game one 168-197 to No. 22 seed Hannah Masterson of Ireland, whose performance was flaming hot after she defeated Sweden's Teams bronze and Doubles & All-Event silver medalist Kajsa Samuelsson 2-0 (195-186, 213-140). Karen came back in a second game when she crushed her opponent with nearly one hundred pins (251-154). It was anyone's game again. In a decisive game, both players had their chances, but in the end, the favor was on Karen's side as she sealed the deal with a 2-1 victory (168-197, 251-154, 169-157) and advanced to the semi-finals.
With only four athletes left, Karen Kærgaard Nielsen met her compatriot, No. 6 seed, Milla Patricia Hansen, holding an all-four-game win streak at Girls Masters. It was a combative game, as expected. Both Danes exchanged a victory - Karen won game one 178-152, while Milla tied the game in a second 184-202 - to find out who's better this year in game three. Karen Kærgaard Nielsen dealt with pressure a little better to turn the game in her favor, advancing to the final with a 2-1 victory (178-152, 184-202, 216-156).
In the final game, Karen Kærgaard Nielsen stood against No. 9 seed Emilie Marie Aas of Norway, who knocked out a bunch of high performers at the EYC 2023 - No. 24 seed Hafdís Eva Pétursdóttir of Iceland, Singles champion and Teams silver medalist Julie Perrier of France, Doubles and Teams champion Maja Engberg of Sweden and another Swede Elissa Mehmet, who won gold in Teams, silver in Singles and bronze in All-Event. It seemed like Karen was not disturbed by Emilie's past achievements in the Masters playoffs, as she took an early advantage and won gold with a 2-0 victory (236-171, 207-170).
Gold medal - Nicolas Carter (Denmark)
Silver medal - Kevin Melin (Sweden)
Bronze medals - Daniel Harding (England) | Markus Lahti (Finland)
Nicolas Carter, just like his compatriot and Girls Masters champion Karen Kærgaard Nielsen, skipped the first step as he finished third and won Boys All-Event bronze after eighteen qualification games.
In step 2, Nicolas faced No. 15 seed, Doubles bronze winner David Barak of Slovakia, who recently won second place at the S.O.F.T. 2023 Open in Limassol. It was a fantastic high-scoring game and a true bowling spectacle for spectators. David won game one 257-239, while Nicolas put the second one in his pocket with a result of 252-218. Nicolas Carter read the changing oil pattern better in the decisive third game and kept his performance high, while David Barak struggled to strike. The Dane advanced with a 2-1 victory (239-257, 252-218, 245-162).
In the quarter-finals, later champion Nicolas Carter met No. 12 seed Vince Van Der Loo of the Netherlands, who recently overcame No. 21 seed, Singles bronze medalist Max Lorenz of Germany and No. 6 seed, Singles silver medalist Mathias Danielsen Otting with a 4W 1L record. Nicolas lost game one in a close match, 190-201, putting some pressure on his shoulders. Nevertheless, he managed to get back into his rhythm, winning the remaining two games with a final result of 2-1 (190-201, 220-173, 257-193).
With only four athletes remaining, the Dane stood against Doubles bronze medalist and Teams champion, No. 5 seed Markus Lahti of Finland. Nicolas Carter won game one for the first time in Boys Masters 246-157 but was powerless in a second when Finn was close to perfection with a 279-199 win to tie the score. In a decisive game three, Nicolas was able to strike more, holding his leading position to the end of the game with a final result of 218-183.
In the final game of Boys Masters, Nicolas Carter faced No. 1 seed, Doubles, and All-Event champion, Teams silver medalist Kevin Melin of Sweden, who won against Kayden Lagana of Malta, Estonia's Siim Henrik Saar, and England's Daniel Harding in his way to the Masters finals. Game one was a real strike feast, but Sweden's Kevin Melin was the one to grab a 264-216 win. Once again, Nicolas Carter improved his game when he needed it most, tying the result with a 269-182 victory. In the final game of the EYC 2023, both boys did their best to capture the most precious accomplishment in the championships, but this year Nicolas Carter was better, closing the match with a 256-223 victory.
All championship activities was held from the 2nd of April to the 9th of April 2023. A total of 30 European bowling federations and 168 youth athletes participate in the event. Full standings can be found here.
10 European countries won medals at the European Youth Championships 2023. Sweden was the dominating force, obtaining 13 medals (4 gold, 7 silver, 2 bronze), while Denmark collected 7 (3 gold, 4 bronze), and Finland earned 6 (2 gold, 4 bronze).