2014 World Men's Championships kicks off in Abu Dhabi

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - The traditional parade of teams, encouraging words from dignitaries and entertainment by local youth performers helped usher in the 2014 World Bowling Men's Championships at Abu Dhabi's Zayed Sports City on Thursday afternoon.

2014WMCOCSheikhs250x140The nine-day tournament will run from Dec. 6-14 and feature a total of 274 bowlers from 49 countries. They will compete for medals in six events - singles, doubles, trios, team, all-events and Masters match play.

The 2014 World Men's Championships marks the event's first visit to Abu Dhabi since 1999.

Finland is the defending champion in the team event, having downed the United States in an exciting championship match at the 2013 World Championships in Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas. The Finnish victory denied Team USA a fourth consecutive team gold medal.

The United States topped the medal table at the 2013 World Championships with three gold medals, two silver and three bronze.

In 1999, Sweden outdistanced Team USA in the team event.2014WMCOCKids250x140

Competition will get underway with singles Saturday at 12 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. There will be four six-game squads of singles over two days before the field is cut to the top four for the semifinals. Each event at the World Championships will follow a similar format.

The tournament will feature two different lane conditions - a long oil pattern and a medium pattern - with the coveted team event including three games on each before the cut to the semifinals.

All rounds of the event will be broadcast live on BOWL.com's BowlTV. For a complete schedule in Eastern time, visit BOWL.com/LiveStream.

For more information on the World Men's Championships, visit the official website of the event at adwtbc.com.