Karim (fourth left) officiates the opening of the 20th Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championship at Megalanes, Batu Kawa yesterday. On fourth right is Sii.

KUCHING: Bowlers from 19 countries in the Asia Pacific region are here for the 20th Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championship at Megalanes from April 17 to 25.

The international event was last held in Malaysia during its 8th edition in 1996 and is coming here again after a successful bid by organisers at the 19th edition in Philippines in 2017 — the second time Malaysia was chosen as the host.

Representing the Chief Minister, Tourism, Culture, Arts, Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Rahman Hamzah commended the Amateur Bowling Association Sarawak (ABAS) and its president Sunny Sii for bringing the international event to Sarawak.

“I truly feel honoured to represent the Chief Minister to officiate your tournament and when I saw the youthful faces from all the different countries converging here, I can’t help but feel that pride and honour as well as excitement for the future of the sport.

Karim (fourth left) officiates the opening of the 20th Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championship at Megalanes, Batu Kawa yesterday. On fourth right is Sii.

“On behalf of the state government, I welcome all bowlers and delegates to the 20th Asian Youth Bowling Championship 2019 and to the Land of the Hornbills,” said Karim.

“I believe this distinguished championships will showcase the best of youth tenpin bowling in Asia and on display will be with determination and tenacity as every bowler pits their skills against their opponents,” continued Karim when delivering the Chief Minister’s message to the athletes yesterday.

He said: “During the course of this championship, the mutual aspiration and passion for the sport will build friendships across the continents and seas and that camaraderie will be the ideal platform to bring your sport to new frontiers.”

The minister urged all the delegates from the 19 countries to stay longer here and explore the many natural attractions as well as the tourism products such as the “Living Museum” (Sarawak Cultural Village) the Cats Museum, Bako National Park and other areas such as Telaga Air and Teluk Melano.

The president of the Amateur Bowling Association of Sarawak, Sunny Si pointed out that many officials and athletes who participated in the first tournament here years ago were also present at the event yesterday — either as coaches or team leaders.

Among the noted ones was former Malaysian national bowling head coach Sid Allen, who Sii pointed out was inspirational for his role in assisting and advising Sarawak during his tenure as national head coach.

“This event came to fruition with the help of many individuals and I particularly want to thank the president of Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress Datuk Dr PS Nathan for his invaluable support without which we could not have bid for this event,” said Sii

Sii also thanked all those who were involved in making this event a reality and invited all the guests to savour the challenge while enjoying the wonderful city of Kuching.

The Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling championship began with arrivals of international teams on Wednesday and will see the competitions at the Megalanes in Batu Kawa, here, until April 25.