Team USA excels at inaugural IBF Para Bowling World Championships in Dubai
American Wheelchair Bowling AssociationPresident Eddy Hutchens said one of AWBA’s main goals is to get people out of their homes and move them around.
Hutchens used this week as the ultimate opportunity to lead by example as he traveled nearly 8,000 miles from Franktown, Colorado to Dubai to represent United States team at the inauguration International Bowling Federation Para-Bowling World Championships from November 13 to 16.
The AWBA’s top scratch player has led a contingent of four bowlers at the Dubai International Bowling Center, and all four of the team will return to the United States with countless memories and at least one gold medal.
He was joined in the pioneering effort by Shawn Beam of Burleson, Texas, Debra Freed of Framingham, Mass., And Toodie Perry of Bakersfield, Calif., And they were among 21 bowlers from four countries competing for medals in singles, doubles, mixed doubles and mixed team.
Participating countries included Hong Kong, India, Thailand and the United States.
The United States won eight of the 20 medals available, and Hutchens was the first in the group to take gold, winning the men’s singles title to kick off the tournament.
He was seeded after six qualifying matches at the Dubai International Bowling Center and beat Thailand’s Suphan Sinthusuwan, 165-116, to claim his place in the record books.
Not only was the achievement historically remarkable, it was also special because the gold medal match took place on a one-of-a-kind stage under the Dubai night sky.
The custom two-lane venue was created for the 2021 IBF World Super Championships medal rounds and also hosted the men’s and women’s singles finals of the Para Bowling World Championships.
The facility was built outside of the Sports, Fitness and Wellbeing Hub at Expo 2020 Dubai, a multicultural event that includes exhibits from over 190 countries and will run for six months.
“Representing the United States this week and being the first to bring home a world championship – there are no words to describe it,” Hutchens said. “It’s right there with the birth of my boys. It’s teary-eyed. It was a national anthem like never before. There was goosebumps, and I don’t have the flesh. goosebumps, but I made it when I got the call that I was gonna be part of the United States team, and last night it was goosebumps and smiles galore. “
Hong Kong’s Wong Mei-Lan, the top qualifier among women after six games, beat Thailand’s Chantira Hutinan, 101-70, to become the first ever world para bowling champion.
Hutchens has won medals in all disciplines, collecting three gold medals and one silver medal.
He teamed up with Beam to win the inaugural doubles event, which featured the same Baker-format contenders he encountered at the Super World Championships. In Doubles Baker, teammates alternate frames to complete a match.
The duo qualified second overall and secured one of four spots in the bracket style semi-finals.
They eliminated Thais Kampa Pongtao and Choochat Sukjarern, 178-135, before overtaking their teammates, Sawai Padpong and Samsak Ruamsab, in the final, 159-146.
“It’s an incredible feeling to win a gold medal at the inaugural event,” said Beam, who in 2012 became the first wheelchair bowler to throw a USBC-certified Perfect Game. “Hearing the phrase world champion is amazing, and there are all kinds of emotions in it, but it’s still very surreal. I hear it, and I know it, but it doesn’t register yet. . I think once that is all done and we have some time to not worry about the competition anymore, that will hit me. “
Beam’s 300 game arrived almost a decade ago and has attracted a lot of attention to itself, bowling, and the AWBA. Even all these years later, the feelings and emotions of that night are still fresh to him, and he has tried to compare the two accomplishments.
“It’s actually a lot better, and it’s something I was thinking about this morning, before it even happened,” Beam said. “The 300 is a very personal thing, but it’s for Team USA. It’s for our country. It’s for an event that has never happened before and that we want to promote and develop. all that makes it so important anymore. They’re both up there, but it’s definitely the best feeling I’ve ever had. “
Beam’s week started with a bronze medal in singles. He finished five pins qualifying before having the opportunity to play against Hutchens for the gold medal.
Freed and Perry also rose to the podium in singles, each winning a bronze medal, and their collective doubles efforts helped them climb to the silver. They finished behind Thais Hutinan and Paramee Panyachaem.
Hutchens and Perry added a silver medal in mixed doubles, but it only served as a warm-up for the coveted team event, where the U.S. team won the gold, edging Thailand, 358 -338, in the three-game total pinfall. The team also featured a modified Baker format.
“It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever done,” Perry said. “Being a world champion feels and sounds really, really good.”
All of the players admitted that they weren’t sure what to expect about the event, the spotlight and the experience, and Hutchens even mentioned that he dreaded the travel aspect of the opportunity. The pride after the end was unanimous.
“I really didn’t think I would go that far, but we did, and it’s amazing,” said Freed. “To attend something that has taken place for the first time and represent the United States – it doesn’t get better than this.”
The four new members of the U.S. team were selected by the U.S. Bowling Congress National Selection Committee to represent the U.S. team in the W1 category of the IBF Para Bowling World Championships.
The W1 classification for para / amputees includes all wheelchair classifications. It includes leg amputees, cerebral palsy (with functional hands) and The Others athletes with mobility dysfunction. All must compete in a wheelchair and follow the rules of the game, as well as the amended rules established for this discipline.
At future Para Bowling World Championships there will also be a W2 ranking for wheelchair users with quadriplegia. All participants in 2021 have chosen to compete in the W1 category.
Beyond the competition and the medals, this is what the event means for paraboulists and their efforts to develop the sport.
Bowling doesn’t know how to get to the foul line, and bowling is something anyone can do.
“People think life is over, and it’s not, as I’ve proven,” Hutchens said. “There are babies to have and families to raise, and the possibilities are endless, as long as you try. It’s especially easy in bowling to include everyone.”
The Super World Championships were the first event to take place in Dubai and then shared the limelight with the Para World Championships.
The 2021 IBF Masters (formerly Senior) World Championships kicked off Thursday and will be the final event of IBF’s move to the United Arab Emirates. The Masters World Championships will run until November 26.
IBF provides live coverage and full results for the three events at StrikeCloud.com.
For more information on IBF, visit bowling.sport.