Jacob climbing ladder to bowling nobility

By Don Fennell

Published 1:52 PDT, Fri June 7, 2019

Last Updated: 4:05 PDT, Tue July 2, 2019

Jacob Imoo can’t stop smiling.

Jacob Imoo can’t stop smiling.

Naturally good-hearted with an infectious personality, the Richmond teen draws attention. Both because of his character as well as his talent.

Imoo, 15, is rapidly climbing the ladder to bowling nobility as one of British Columbia’s, and Canada’s, elite young rollers.

In the tenpin game, he recently became a national champion at the youth championships held last week in Edmonton. Not only did he win a pair of gold medals as the junior boys’ all-events champion (which included a sizeable scholarship) and singles champion, but also earned silver as a member of the second-place boys’ team and bronze playing doubles. Speaking to his engaging nature, Imoo was also presented the Ivan Nelson Memorial Sportsmanship Award that included yet another a scholarship.

On the lanes, Imoo set the junior boys’ all-time record for high singles average at 232 and all-events average at 218.

These latest achievements come on the heels of winning the Youth Bowling Council national title in Laval, Quebec in May.

“I didn’t expect to bowl as well as I did (winning gold and silver),” he says. “Everyone was very kind to me and I felt like I belonged. It was the home (in the sport) that I finally found.”

Imoo now seems armed with the confidence to take his game far, perhaps even to one day become a world champion like his bowling hero Jason Belmonte with whom he shares an increasingly-popular two-handed style.

“(Belmonte) started bowling that way because he couldn’t pick up the ball, and it’s become popular with a lot of kids today,” Imoo explains. “All the kids love it because you get so much power even if you don’t have that much muscle. An it’s cool to see that ball curve from one side to the other.”

Bowling also inspired Imoo to work on his “passion project.”

“I started this school project because I was tasked to (come up with) a creative project that was special to me. Back late last August, I vlogged for this project for the first time.”

Imoo says he will retain special memories of this season, because it featured his first career bowling victory. To win five tournaments and six gold medals was beyond his expectations.

And being named most sportsmanlike athlete was particularly fulfilling.

“This award will stick with me forever. It showed me that I can definitely compete at this level and also have fun doing it. With the support of my coaches, family and fellow competitors, I now know that bowling is truly a fun sport. And from this experience I (believe) this is what I am meant to do. I am excited to move forward.”

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