10 October 2013

RMIT elite athlete through to bowling championships finals

Paul White – Bowling Championships

Paul White (centre, in black) with fellow Australian athletes

Paul White shares his experience competing in the Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championships.

My name is Paul White, a Bachelor of Business and Accountancy student at RMIT. I recently competed in the 17th Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Team Australia. This year has been full of many successes in both my bowling and my academic life. I have travelled to almost every state in Australia, won three nationally ranked and recognised tournaments, was the runner-up in two tournaments and have further progressed in my degree.

The 17th Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championships were held from 7 to 14 September 2013, showcasing the best under-21-year-old talent in the Asia Pacific region. I along with three other men and four women were selected to represent Australia in the singles, doubles, teams, all-events and masters divisions against a total of 205 other competitors and officials. The Championships were held at the South China Athletics Association.

The Championships began with the opening ceremony, followed by the official practice sessions on 8 and 9 September. The practice consisted of the entire team bowling across the 60-lane centre to get a feel for the two different tournament oil patterns – the “long” and the “medium”. It was very hectic as the team only had 10 minutes on each pair of lanes where we then had to move four lanes right during the hour. Imagine 205 people moving two to six bowling balls every 10 minutes! This session allowed us to talk strategy and ball selection for the singles competition the next day.

Singles started on 10 September and was bowled on the long oil pattern. Like the rest of the events, singles required everyone to bowl a short sprint of six games to determine the medallists. I placed 26th among 81 boys. The best result from Australia was Katey Furze, placing 14th among 48 girls.

The next day was doubles event and it was bowled on the medium oil pattern. I was paired up with Western Australian Caine Thompson and we placed 22nd among 41 doubles teams. Although the result was a bit of disappointing, I kept myself in contention for the masters final. Australia’s best result was again the girls, who narrowly missed out on a medal in 5th position by only 18 pins.

The four-man team event was held the following day and was bowled on both the long and medium (three games each) length oil patterns. Teams are always one of the tougher events of a championship, as it requires us to maintain our games mentally and physically over a much longer period of time. We were able to finish off our first block in 6th position on the medium oil pattern. Moral was very high as we still had medals in sight. Unfortunately, the long oil would see us retain 6th among 21 teams. I shot a personal high championship block, which put me into the top 16 in all events and into the masters finals!

All events are made up of the scores over the 18 games of the championships. The scores are totalled to determine the all events champions and the top 16 masters finalists. I finished 15th in all events – I felt excited and relieved to have scrapped through to the finals, the only Australian to do so.

The masters is a marathon of 16 games, head to head against the other finalists, both the long and medium patterns. Positions are dropped and everyone begins the day on zero again. After nine hours of intense competition, the masters tournament finished and unfortunately I could not catch the top three seeds and my campaign saw me finish in 11th position. Korea went on to win both the gold and silver medals in the boys and girls divisions.

Tenpin bowling is not heavily supported in Australia compared to many other sports. It is with the greatest of appreciations and thanks when I say I would not have been able to compete at the level I am at without the support from RMIT, as well as RMIT Sport and Recreation. The life experiences and lessons I have taken back on this trip are ones that I will relish for many years to come. When I wear my jacket, I will proudly say that I am a Strikeroo and a Redback!

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