13-year-old girl crowned bowling champion in Riyadh

13-year-old girl crowned bowling champion in Riyadh
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Mica Ecalnir (center) is awarded the top prize after besting all competitors in the Saudi Women Bowling Championship in Riyadh on Saturday. Jellah Mae Alba Mondoy took the second prize and Mariam Pablo Cruz placed third. (Supplied photo)
13-year-old girl crowned bowling champion in Riyadh
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Dr. Razan Baker, a member of the Saudi Bowling Federation’s board of directors and head of media and women’s participation, with the winners of the first Saudi Women Bowling Championship held in Riyadh on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
13-year-old girl crowned bowling champion in Riyadh
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Dr. Razan Baker, a member of the Saudi Bowling Federation’s board of directors and head of media and women’s participation, with the winners of the first Saudi Women Bowling Championship held in Riyadh on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
13-year-old girl crowned bowling champion in Riyadh
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Mica Ecalnir (center) is awarded the top prize after besting all competitors in the Saudi Women Bowling Championship in Riyadh on Saturday. Jellah Mae Alba Mondoy took the second prize and Mariam Pablo Cruz placed third. (Supplied photo)
13-year-old girl crowned bowling champion in Riyadh
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Dr. Razan Baker, a member of the Saudi Bowling Federation’s board of directors and head of media and women’s participation, with the winners of the first Saudi Women Bowling Championship held in Riyadh on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 07 October 2018

13-year-old girl crowned bowling champion in Riyadh

13-year-old girl crowned bowling champion in Riyadh
  • The Saudi Bowling Federation is taking serious steps to promote this game
  • Princess Najla Abdulrahman, a member of the Saudi Mass Participation Federation, is pleased with the event

RIYADH: The Saudi Bowling Federation launched its first women’s tournament, the Saudi Women Bowling Championship, in Riyadh on Saturday.

Sponsored by Arab News and Arriyadiyah newspaper, it is the first of the federation’s initiatives to support women in sports, and will be followed by a tournament in Alkhobar on Oct. 13, and in Jeddah on Oct. 20.

Dr. Razan Baker, a member of the federation’s board of directors and head of media and women’s participation, said the number of participants in the Riyadh tournament exceeded expectations. Registration is still open for the Jeddah and Alkhobar tournaments, she added.

Riyadh has “the best bowling center in Saudi Arabia,” she said, “with international standards and the capacity to accommodate this large number of competitors.”

The exciting event began with important instructions from player Nahla Adas to prevent any sports injuries. 

“Proper stretches before the game help prevent injuries,” she said. 

Participants are aged between 12 and 47. The winner will receive a cash prize of SR5,000 ($1,335) and the first and the second runners-up will get SR3,000 and SR2,000 respectively.

The Saudi Bowling Federation is taking serious steps to promote this game. Seven months ago, a national bowling team was formed in the Eastern Province. The team members receive training daily for three hours under the federation’s supervision. 

Baker said the federation’s plan to form a bowling team received an overwhelming response. “We received a lot of messages from people requesting information on the details.”

“We are also getting in touch with all the bowling centers in the Kingdom. We have girls contacting us from Khamis Mushait, from the northern border in Arar for example. They’re both happy and upset, asking why don’t they have a championship like this in the northern province. Hopefully, we can organize more tournaments in different cities,” Baker added. 

Princess Najla Abdulrahman, a member of the Saudi Mass Participation Federation, is pleased with the event. “First, we are happy to be part of this event that is organized by the Saudi Bowling Federation, and we as the Saudi Mass Participation Federation always strive and are delighted to have such events with our other partners to increase the percentage of practicing sports in our society in general.”

Adas, who is also part of the national team, said she used to play this game in the US just for fun. 

“But now I take it seriously and wish to play at the international level. I am lucky to be a part of this team. I wish to see this game become more popular than football in the Kingdom. We always hear about football, now is the time for bowling,” she added.

Another talented player, Mashail Anas Abdulwahed, surprised everyone with her brilliants strikes. She has been bowling since 2005. 

“I have been waiting for this moment since 2005.”

Stressing the importance of sports, Abdulwahed said: “It changes one’s mood and gets rid of negative energy. Bowling is energetic and we can play it comfortably.”

Thirteen-year-old Mica Ecalnir won the championship trophy followed by Jellah Mae Alba Mondoy and Mariam Pablo Cruz who won the second and third places respectively.

“During the game, I felt nervous, and I told myself that I should work hard,” Ecalnir said. The champion said she used all the techniques she had learned to win the game.

The championship, organized in cooperation with the Saudi Federation for Community Sports, is open to Saudi women and women born in the Kingdom of all ages.

The Saudi Bowling Federation has decided to support the Zahra Breast Cancer Association and change the championship’s color to pink in order to raise awareness about women’s health.