Lithuania and Germany win doubles at 2021 IBF Super World Championships in Dubai

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -
With the outdoor venue that was created for the medal rounds of this year's International Bowling Federation Super World Championships, there have been opportunities, and there have been challenges.

There is the potential for being both starlit and starstruck simultaneously.

On Saturday night, however, the brightest stars were the ones being born on the two lanes constructed earlier this week under the desert sky at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Not only did Lithuania's Aidas Daniunas and Laurynas Narusis conquer the elements and win the first gold medal for their country at the IBF Super World Championships, they did it against some of the hottest players in the world.

Janin Ribguth and Martina Shutz of Germany also outlasted two of Europe's top players on the way to the women's title, Germany's first since 2005.

In the two-player version of the Baker format, one team member bowls the odd frames, and the other team member bowls the even frames. They were required to alternate through the day during qualifying.

The semifinals and finals took place on an open-air two-lane setup and were broadcast live at StrikeCloud.com.

The custom venue was created specifically for the medal rounds of the 2021 IBF Super World Championships and built in the Sports, Fitness and Wellbeing Hub at Expo 2020 Dubai, a multicultural event that includes exhibits from more than 190 countries and will last six months.

The prime location means the ability to showcase bowling to tens of thousands of Expo visitors each day.

Germany doubles Ribguth Shutz 2021 Super World ChampionshipsRibguth and Shutz were the first to claim their gold medals Saturday. They defeated Sweden's Sandra Andersson and Joline Persson Planefors, 2-0 (193-181, 234-161), and denied Sweden a second consecutive win in women's doubles.

The Germans started the first game of the best-of-two title tilt with four consecutive strikes, and they needed every bit of the early cushion, as unconverted splits in their final three frames nearly let the game slip away.

Andersson and Planefors almost erased the deficit with three consecutive strikes, starting in the seventh frame, but a pair of missed single pins in the match, one in the first frame and one in the 10th frame, proved to be their undoing in the 193-181 loss.

Spare miscues and footing issues plagued the Swedish players in the deciding game, while Ribguth and Shutz struck eight times and cruised to a 234-161 victory.

The Germans started the night with another big game, striking nine times in a 254-194 semifinal win over Finland's Ani Juntunen and Peppi Konsteri. Andersson and Planefors earned their spot in the final by defeating Denmark's Cecilie Dam and Mika Guldbaek, 211-145.

Daniunas, a left-hander, and Narusis, a 16-year-old two-hander on the other side of the lane, appeared unfazed by the moment and surroundings, as they dispensed of top qualifiers Jesper Svensson and Pontus Andersson, 2-0 (224-223, 237-176), in the best-of-two gold-medal match.

The first game again had a dramatic finish, with Andersson stepping up in his final frame with a chance to win it for Sweden.

He needed a strike and at least an eight-count and a spare to take the game. He delivered the strike, but his second offering drifted high and left the 3-6-7-10 combination. Though he converted the split, it wasn't enough.

The Lithuanians were clean in the win, while a missed 7 pin from Svensson in the third frame played a role in the loss.

In the second game, Daniunas and Narusis used a string of six strikes from the fourth frame to put the game out of reach.

To get to the final, Daniunas and Narusis topped Sweden's other duo, William Svensson and James Blomgren, 243-226. Blomgren earned the singles gold medal on the same lanes Friday night.

Svensson and Andersson earned their shot at the title with a 244-187 win over Team USA's Andrew Anderson and Kristopher Prather.Anderson and Prather doubles medals 2021 Super World Championships

The appearance marked the second consecutive doubles medal round for Anderson at the World Championships, but he and Prather, a first-timer at the event, couldn't get any momentum going after strikes in their first two frames.

"We had good ball reaction in practice and started with a couple of good shots, but a few unfortunate breaks and 10 pins allowed the momentum to shift, and we just couldn't regain it," Anderson said. "I'm feeling pretty defeated at the moment, but the trios team has another shot at it tomorrow. We'll try to bounce back and hopefully hear our anthem on the podium."

Anderson and Prather, along with Svensson and Blomgren, earned bronze medals for reaching the semifinals. Anderson teamed with EJ Tackett for the silver medal at the 2018 event in Hong Kong.

Anderson and Team USA rebounded from that loss by taking the trios gold medal, with help from Kyle Troup.

The scenario is possible again in 2021, as Anderson and Prather are headed for the trios medal round Sunday night, where they'll be joined by Jakob Butturff and AJ Johnson.

"Right now, I'm a little disappointed in myself and feel like I let Andrew down, and I'm not yet sure what I need to do to reset for tomorrow and refocus for trios and the other events," Prather said. "I feel like I had a lot of expectations, instead of being in the moment, and it showed. I just have to be better."

They'll return to the custom venue in Dubai, and the round is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. local time (9 a.m. Eastern). The women's trios semifinals and final also will take place.

The Team USA women entered the week in Dubai as the two-time defending trios champions, but they were eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Prior to Saturday's doubles conclusion, all 64 men's teams and the 45 women's duos completed 10 Baker games of qualifying at the Dubai International Bowling Centre, before the respective fields were cut to the top 32 for match play.

The advancing teams were divided into four groups, each with eight tandems, and they all bowled seven games of round-robin match play Tuesday night.

Points were awarded for each win in match play, and the top two teams in each group, based on points, advanced to the bracket-style quarterfinals.

Once trios ends Sunday night, only team and mixed team will remain on the schedule at the 2021 Super World Championships. Both will finish Monday. Doubles, trios and both team events all feature variations of the Baker format from start to finish.

Additional medals will be awarded in Dubai to the most valuable athletes and top-performing federations.

Competition at the Super World Championships will resume early Monday with the match-play portion of the team event, followed by the quarterfinal matches to determine the four teams headed to the outdoor venue for the semifinals.

The Colombia women and Italy men are the reigning team champions.

The IBF Super World Championships is the first of three events being held in Dubai. The inaugural Para Bowling World Championships is sharing the stage through the weekend, with singles getting underway Saturday night. The IBF Masters (formerly Senior) World Championships will help wrap up the visit to the United Arab Emirates.

IBF is providing livestream coverage and complete results at StrikeCloud.com.

For more information about IBF, visit bowling.sport.