Paeng picks World Cup contendersBy Manolo R. Iñigo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
WITH six world championships, four of them in the Bowling World Cup, the legendary Paeng Nepomuceno recently named the countries with crack contenders for this year’s BWC in Poland.
According to Paeng, it is hard to predict the winners of the Bowling World Cup simply because millions of bowlers vie for it every year. The Bowling World Cup is the world’s largest international bowling competition and over 100 million competitive bowlers aspire to participate in it. The countries represented each year reach as high as 110.
The top five bowling countries in the World Cup includes the United States, where there is a joint effort from the USBC (United States Bowling Congress) and the WTBA (World Tenpin Bowling Association) to put bowling in the Olympics someday. The Americans send their best professionals every year for both male and female. It is much like what they did in basketball at the Olympics when they started to send their “Dream Team” of NBA stars. This is also what they are doing now for bowling.
The PBT (Professional Bowling Tour) competition has gone out of the US for the first time since last year, and for this year, there are 14 events that will be played in different countries.
Aside from USA, Australia is also a top contender with Jason Belmonte winning last year.
Incidentally, Paeng has beaten Jason Belmonte when he established his third Guinness World record in 2007 for winning the most career titles worldwide— now 124—when he won the South Pacific Classic in Melbourne, which is Australia’s most prestigious international.
Other countries to watch out for are Britain, Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Finland, and Asian countries like South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan.
For the Philippines, 2006 world champion Biboy Rivera was the representative last year and came in fifth. Apple Posadas was the women’s qualifier.
Other contenders this year are Frederick Ong (men’s singles gold medalist in last year’s SEA games), Philippine team members Raoul Miranda and Chester King, and for the women we have Alexis Sy (winner of the Asian Youth Masters this year), and Lara Posadas, sister of Apple.
Just what is the Bowling World Cup?
Paeng said the annual World Cup is not a competition where anyone can join from year to year. The participant must first win the national eliminations which start with the player having to win the weekly finals to advance to the bowling center finals to qualify for the national finals.
This process takes about 100 games and three months to complete before a national champion is declared and earns the right to represent the country in the World Cup international championship.
Paeng is the only Filipino athlete to have been honored by three Philippine Presidents: Ferdinand E. Marcos, Joseph E. Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In 1999, Paeng was personally awarded by former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch with the IOC President’s Trophy, the highest award for sports, which became all the more important since bowling is not recognized as an Olympic sport.
Paeng is the first Filipino bowler thus far to be enshrined in the International Bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Missouri. A life-size photograph of Paeng greets the daily visitors there.
Of his many achievements, Paeng humbly said: “It suffices that I carry the flag and bring honor to the country and the Filipino people. That is my reward.”
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