Dornberger elected WTBA President; Congress votes to allow pros



    Popov (AUS) and Pujol (FRA) elected 1st and 2nd Vice President

    WTBAPresidentKevinDornberger.jpg Kevin Dornberger of the United States was elected president of the World Tenpin Bowling Association on Wednesday, while the WTBA also voted to allow professionals to compete in international events, a move that bolsters the sport's bid for inclusion into the Olympic Games.

    Dornberger, who is the chief operating officer of the United States Bowling Congress, defeated incumbent WTBA president Heikki Sarso of Finland, 53-34, in a vote by the WTBA Congress as the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Monterrey, Mexico.

    "I'm extremely humbled by being selected to take on this heavy responsibility," Dornberger said. "I look forward to moving WTBA into the future and hopefully into the Olympics. Heikki has put in a tremendous amount of work for our organization over the past four years and I thank him."

    By 2009, two current non-Olympic sports may be selected by the International Olympic Committee for inclusion into the 2016 Summer Olympics. Dornberger said the move by the WTBA Congress on Wednesday to allow professionals in international events strengthens bowling's position to become one of those selections.

    "This is an important first step in bowling potentially becoming an Olympic sport," Dornberger said. "The International Olympic Committee has said it wants the best athletes to compete and we have now made that change. There is no guarantee we will be included in the Olympics, but this points our sport in the right direction."

    The decision allows members of the Professional Bowlers Association to become eligible for all WTBA events, including world and zone championships. It opens the door for players like Tommy Jones, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Norm Duke and Chris Barnes to potentially compete for Team USA, Mika Koivuniemi for Finland and Amleto Monacelli for Venezuela.

     Eduardo Marchandet, Venezuela, the incumbent WTBA 1st Vice President did not seek re-election. There were three candidates running for the office: current 2nd Vice President Salam Abbas Abdul, Qatar; renowned bowling coach Magnus Johnsson, Sweden; and Alex Popov, CEO Tenpin Bowling Australia Limited.

    Popov (34) and Johnsson (28) survived the first round of the election, while Abbas (25) was eliminated. In the deciding second round, Popov defeated Johnsson by one vote, 44-43, to become the new WTBA 1st Vice President.

    Former French and European champion Bernard Pujol, France, beat out Johnsson in the election for 2nd Vice President, 55-32. L-R Popov, Dornberger and Pujol. Click on the image to enlarge it. Piture Lucas Wiseman.

    In the other significant vote of the day, the WTBA Congress decided to change the method in which medals are determined at the world and zone championships effective Jan. 1, 2008.

    Countries will still compete in six games in singles, doubles, trios and team events. After those six games, the top four in the standings will be seeded into semifinals where No. 1 will face No. 4 and No. 2 will bowl No. 3 in single-game, single-elimination matches.

    The losers of the semifinals will each earn a bronze medal while the winners will battle for the gold medal. The loser in the finals will take the silver medal.

    The World Tenpin Bowling Association, which is made up of 109 bowling federations, governs the sport throughout the world. The WTBA Congress was held in advance of the 2007 WTBA Women's World Championships, which begin with doubles competition on Saturday.