9th January, Hong Kong: A traditional grand ceremony graced by His Excellency Sheikh Talal Mohammed Al-Sabah, President of IBF/ABF and Mr Kevin Yeung Yun-Hung, GBS, JP., Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, marked the long-awaited 26th Asian Tenpin Bowling Championships being held at SCAA Bowling Centre.
The ceremony was also graced by Mr Timothy T.T. Fok, GBC, JP., Honorary IOC Member and President of Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China. Also present was Dr Haywood Cheung, Chairman of Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society, Director of Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (2010-2013).
Other distinguished guests included were Mr Choi Jang-Kyu, Vice President of ABF, Mr Michael Seymour, President of Oceanic Bowling Federation, and many representatives from embassies and various sponsors, supporting partners, ABF Executive Board Members and team officials.
Mr Eric Lee, emcee for the ceremony welcomed all present and kicked off proceedings by introducing the guests of honours, dignitaries and several notable distinguished guests before announcing the march past of the 16 participating countries, starting with China and ending with host nation, Hong Kong, China.
Speeches proceeded the teams parade first by Ms Vivien Lau, SBS, JP., Organizing Chairman and Chairman of Hong Kong Tenpin Bowling Congress where she thanked the guests of honour, generous sponsors and supporting partners for their support of this championship.
She also mentioned that we were indeed very fortunate that the Hong Kong government health authorities had just lifted the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions in time to make all necessary preparations for the event.
Ms Lau ended her speech by expressing gratitude to the support and confidence given to HKTBC as host by Asian Bowling Federation and the Culture, Sports and Tourism of Hong Kong and also the participating countries in these trying times.
His Excellency Sheikh Talal Mohammed Al-Sabah, in his speech said that he is confident that HKTBC will do an excellent job in hosting this event and that the participants will be well taken off by her experienced staff and volunteers.
Mr Kevin Yeung followed up her speech by reinterating that the Hong Kong has always been a perfect country to host such a prestigious championship and that this will mark the return of normacy and for Hong Kong to boast the many attractive cultural activities that will follow soon. The same sentiment was also expressed by Mr Timothy Fok in his inspring speech too.
The guests of honour and dignitaries were then invited to perform the traditional dotting of the lion's eyes and tying the "Good Luck" ribbons to mark the ceremony. This was followed by the lion dance and a group photo session before Sheikh Talal officially declared the championships opened.
Ninety five men and fifty women from sixteen Asian countries from China, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Macau, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United Arab Emriates, Uzbekistan and host Hong Kong will be vying for glory in the week to follow.
At the end of the ceremony, guests were invited to a Welcome Reception hosted by HKTBC at Regal Hong Kong Hotel. Competition will kick off with the Singles on Tuesday, January 10, Doubles on Wednesday, January 11, Trios on January 12 and 13, Team of 5 on January 14, 15 and 16, and Masters Finals on January 17 and 18.
A victory banquet, hosted by HKTBC at KITEC, E-Max in Kowloon Bay at 1900 hrs will end the week-long championships. Live video streaming will be featured throughout the championships and Live TV broadcast will also be available during the Masters Stepladder Finals.
Photos by Terence Yaw in Hong Kong.