Call it the Mampote Miracle


    Grand Opening

    2006BWCLogo_small.jpg Racing the clock, organizers and engineers pulled off the impossible, refitting the 40 lanes of the Centro Nacional de Bowling Mampote in time to host the Opening Ceremonies of the 42nd QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup Saturday evening in Caracas.

    Just 48 hours earlier, gutters had yet to be installed, pinspotters tested, and nuts and bolts put into place. No one from the public had been allowed to enter the Mampote center until early Saturday morning, to allow the workers to finish.

    The spanking-new equipment was the perfect setting for an elegant and lively Opening Ceremony celebrating the arrival of bowlers from 94 countries to Venezuela - one country short of the record set in 2004 in Singapore.

    2006BWCDevilDance_small.jpg The ceremonies opened with a traditional Venezuelan "Diablo" (devil) dance, followed by the parade of flags. Venezuelan Bowling Federation president Eduardo Marchandet, WTBA president Heikki Sarso, and QubicaAMF CEO John Walker offered remarks of general welcome and thanks to all involved with organizing the 2006 event.

    2006BWCCamachoWalkerMerchandet.jpg Vice Minister of Sport, President of the National Institute of Sport, Chairman of the Venezuelan Olympic Committee and president of this year's local organizing committee, Prof. Eduardo Alvarez Camacho, welcomed the players and guests on behalf of Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez. L-R Camacho, Walker and Marchandet.

    "May this event spread sport and develop bowling around the world," said Camacho.

    Sr. Aristobulo Isturis, Minister for Education and Sport in Venezuela, gave a spirited speech in which he noted how proud Venezuela was to be chosen to host the 42nd Bowling World Cup.

    "Thank you, bowling federations and organizers, for giving us this opportunity to show our enthusiasm and organization to the world.

    "This refurbished center sends forth a very clear objective: to spread the sport of bowling around the country, from the children in schools to companies and enterprises. We urge all to get involved with this wonderful sport."

    2006BWCPlayersOath.jpg Venezuela's representatives in the Bowling World Cup, Karen Marcano (left) and Reydnier Chavez, jointly took the Athletes' Oath, while Ingellimar Contreras, took the oath on behalf of all judges and officials.

    2006BWCClosingDance.jpg The ceremonies concluded with two more dance troupe performances and Alejandro Andrade, president of the Social Foundation of Venezuela, rolling out the official first ball of the tournament.

    Sunday is devoted to official practice sessions, while competition starts at 8 a.m. Monday with the women.