Bowling chiefs are calling for the Olympics to be extended to three weeks in the hope it will give them the chance of getting their sport into the Games.
World Bowling President Kevin Dornberger has made a submission to the Olympic Agenda 2020 roadmap – launched with the intention of modernising the Games – calling for the change.
He believes lengthening the Games, in tandem with work to boost the appeal of the sport worldwide, will see it get its foot firmly in the door at the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“We have very candid meetings with the IOC and they tell us what they see as our deficiencies, and I can’t disagree,” said Dornberger at the International Bowl Expo in Orlando, Florida.
He identified those “deficiencies” as spectators, media and sponsors.
“Our scoring system is not easy enough to understand, even for bowlers,” Dornberger explained.
“In the past there wasn’t enough effort put on helping ‘outsiders’ understand what was going on, but we’re working on that.”
He also wants to make sure the sport is television-friendly, admitting qualification rounds in venues that have little space for more than 300 or 400 spectators do not work for the small screen.
But Dornberger remains philosophical about efforts to get the sport of ten-pin into the Olympics.
“I don’t want to spend a lot of money on this,” he said.
“We either have the qualities of an Olympic sport, or we don’t.
“I can live with that.
But he added: “In 10 years, if we’re not mentioned in the shortlist of sports looking to be included – assuming that’s still the system – I would be very disappointed.”
In April, international bowling organisations united under a single banner – World Bowling.
It brings together the ten-pin and two nine-pine federations, as well as the umbrella organisation, the International Federation of Bowlers.
Dornberger said the change will allow for clearer, and quicker, decision-making.
The sport is part of the programme of the South American Games, the Pan American Games and the Asian Games, and work on improving its “image” and promoting the competitive side of the sport is a particular focus.
Another Games bowling has long had its eye on is the Commonwealth Games.
The sport made its debut at Kuala Lumpur 1998, but has not featured since.
But in 2012, it was delivered a blow when it was downgraded by a British consultancy firm looking at the sporting programme of the Games.
It was a decision Dornberger says he still does not understand, particularly as the firm suggested bowling could be combined with lawn bowls at the Games.
But there remain aspirations of getting back into the front row of sports that could be added to the Games’ programme.
“We get back [into the Games] by becoming a better sport,” Dornberger insisted.
“If we do that the Commonwealth Games will take us more seriously.”
This article first appeared in Inside the Games and has been reproduced with permission. The original article can be viewed by clicking here.