ARLINGTON, Texas – When eight Junior Team USA members head to Helsinki, Finland, this week for the 2010 World Tenpin Bowling Association World Youth Championships, they will be focused not only on winning gold medals but enjoying the opportunity of a lifetime.
The World Youth Championships will take place at Tali Bowl in Helsinki from July 24-Aug. 1 and will feature bowlers from an estimated 48 countries. The biennial tournament is the pinnacle event in international youth bowling.
“Being able to represent my country in such a major tournament is a huge honor,” said Junior Team USA’s Brittini Hamilton, who won the United States Bowling Congress Junior Gold Championships on Friday. “I still can't believe that I get to go to Europe to bowl for the USA. I don't think it will really set in until I am actually on the plane on my way there.
“I can't wait for the tournament to get here, and I hope that we will be bringing back many gold medals when it is all over.”
Joining Hamilton, of Webster, N.Y., on the girls side is Christine Bator of Warren, Mich., Jenn Boisselle of Brandon, Fla., and Kristie Petravich of West Palm Beach, Fla. Competing for the boys will be Jake Peters of Decatur, Ill., Andrew Koff of Miami, Craig Hanson of Orlando, Fla., and Devin Bidwell of Simi Valley, Calif.
“I am most interested in being able to experience a different style of opponent and culture,” said Koff, who finished fifth at Junior Gold on Friday. “I look forward to being able to observe first-hand the different approach to bowling adopted by youth bowlers from other countries. In particular, I look forward to studying the techniques used by the Malaysian bowlers.
“I want to understand how other countries approach the sport that I love. I also want to make new friends from whom I can continue to learn in the future.”
At the most recent World Youth Championships in 2008 in Orlando, Fla., the United States came away with a bronze in boys team and Dean Richards won the silver in Masters match play. The girls did not medal.
In the coveted four-player team event, Junior Team USA last won the gold medal for the girls in 2004 in Tamuning, Guam, while the boys last earned the gold in 2000 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Medals will be awarded in five events at the World Youth Championships – singles, doubles, team, all-events and Masters match-play. Competition begins with girls singles on July 24 and concludes with Masters match-play on Aug. 1.
The Finnish Bowling Federation is planning live video streaming throughout the event and the video will be available on BOWL.com with commentary in English.