Bowling in Bahrain? Believe it or not bowling is an important sport in the Middle East and Bahrain’s national bowling team will be representatives among a record 16 countries competing in the PBA World Series of Bowling which begins Nov. 4 at the South Point Bowling Center.
The Bahrain players are coached by former PBA Tour player Tim Mack of Indianapolis, a well-known international champion who has won more than 70 titles around the world on his way to winning World Bowler of the Year honors three times.
It was through Mack’s urging that Bahrain will participate in the World Series. Six players are entered, second only to Colombia (nine) among foreign entrants. Competing for Bahrain will be Fawaz Abdullah, Mohammed Al Swawoosh, Mahd Assad, Yousif Falah, Masoud Saberi and Hameed Taqi.
It was through his experience competing internationally that Mack landed the coaching job as the Bahrain team’s coach in June of this year and it wasn’t long before he targeted the World Series as an opportunity for his players.
“The World Series will be a crucial step in elevating their experience level and becoming better bowlers by competing against the best in the world,” Mack said. “I stressed that this is an event they had to bowl because the experience will be invaluable.”
Mack, who made his name bowling internationally, relishes the opportunity to pursue coaching as a career, especially with a team that shows a lot of potential.
“As I’m getting older I’m looking for more opportunities in bowling outside of competing, and coaching is an area that I’m very interested in,” said the 40-year-old Mack, who in recent years has served as an assistant coach for the Hong Kong, Swedish and Indonesian bowling teams. “This is a great opportunity to work with a team with a great work ethic and a lot of potential for the future.”
The Bahrain contingent will be among more than 200 competitors, including 49 PBA Tour exempt players, who will have to navigate through a grueling schedule that will include the Bayer Viper Open, Chameleon Open, Scorpion Open, GEICO Shark Open, PBA World Championship, Carmen Salvino Classic Championship, Pepsi PBA Exempt Players Championship and Lumber Liquidators Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship.
Since Mack has been coaching, the team has shown a lot of progress most recently earning seven medals, including two golds, in the inaugural Gulf Cooperation Council Games conducted in October in Bahrain.
Bahrain has had a competitive bowling program for 50 years and going into the World Series Mack is confident that the Bahrain players will be prepared as best they can be in what admittedly could be an overwhelming atmosphere for them.
“The guys on this team have a lot of natural ability and I’m confident we’ll have a respectable showing,” Mack said. “We’ve been able to train on the PBA conditions, provide them with the latest equipment and overall provide them with some insight as to what it will be like to compete in the PBA arena, but there’s nothing like on-the-job training. Without a doubt it’s going to be a learning experience for them.”
While the U.S. has the world’s largest bowling population, bowling is growing worldwide and the level of talent internationally has improved ever year. In addition to the U.S. and Bahrain, countries represented in the World Series will be Australia, China, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, South Korea, Sweden and Venezuela.
Soon after the World Series the Bahrain team will head to the Arab Games in Qatar in December and like many countries internationally, it’s important for them to do well to get more funding in the future.
“Bowling is taken very seriously as a competitive sport and a lot of that has to do with its drive to become an Olympic sport,” Mack said. “If we have good results we can get more funding which will help makes us a better team.”