Fun and Games at the Sports, Fitness and Well-being hub of Expo 2020 Dubai

By Lynne Clay
November 18, 2021

It must have been a nostalgic experience for Australian Commissioner General Expo 2020, Justin McGowan when world #1 bowler Jason Belmonte re-introduced him to the sport of tenpin bowling at the Australian Pavilion of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Recognised as one of the most charismatic and highest achievers globally in the sport of bowling, Australian Jason Belmonte travelled to the United Arab Emirates in conjunction with the IBF World Championships, currently underway at the Dubai International Bowling Centre.  

The finals of these prestigious Championships are being staged on custom-installed QubicaAMF lanes in the Sports, Fitness and Well-being hub in Expo 2020 Dubai and Belmonte had the opportunity to share some bowling skills and handy tips with the Australian Commissioner General who he discovered was a keen bowler in his youth, rolling a personal best 225 game.

“It’s not often we see tenpin bowlers hitting the lanes in a suit and tie, not to mention in an outdoor arena in the Dubai desert, but Justin certainly seemed to enjoy his return to bowling,” Jason said.    “He quickly showed his talent on the lanes after I updated him about some of the science behind the manufacture and performance of the latest bowling balls, and reminded him about how changing oil conditions can affect bowling lanes,” Belmonte explained. 

“He’s a natural, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Justin and his colleagues roll up for a few games at one of the impressive Centres here in Dubai in future.   “Or possibly form a league when they’re back home in Canberra,” he said with a smile.  

Australian Commissioner General Expo 2020 – Justin McGowan

Bowling made its Commonwealth Games debut in 1998 and the outstanding performance of Australia’s bowlers at the XVI Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 stole the limelight when the team achieved the highest tenpin bowling medal tally in the Games with 3 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze.   Bowling also showcased as one of ten medal sports contested by elite young athletes from more than 20 Commonwealth countries at the II Commonwealth Youth Games in 2004.

Role models like Jason Belmonte, who continues to re-write the record books on the professional bowling circuit, are inspirational for young athletes who share the dream of bowling’s inclusion in future Olympics.  

“Bowling requires mental and physical precision, stamina, and excellent hand-eye coordination and muscle memory.  “As one of the world’s highest participation sports played by men and women in more than a hundred countries across every zone, bowling’s eligibility is undeniable,” IBF CEO Andy Oram said from Dubai today.

On behalf of Storm Bowling, Belmonte presented Mr McGowan with a bowling ball and pair of shoes which he signed as a memento and which the Commissioner General said will be displayed in his office at Expo 2020. Belmonte also jovially invited him to a rematch at Belmonte’s home Centre in Orange, New South Wales or whenever they are both in the same city in Australia or overseas.

“As a universal sport, it’s more than likely that Jason and Justin’s paths will cross again somewhere soon, for sure,” stated TBA CEO Rohan O’Neill.  “Tenpin Bowling Australia is very conscious of the important role that sport has in establishing and maintaining strong international relationships. This initiative further demonstrates the opportunity we have as a sport. We’ll continue to support the Australian government and the IBF on unique and global initiatives in whatever way we can,” he added.

Jason Belmonte

Images courtesy of the International Bowling Federation