In India, ten-pin bowling is more popular as a weekend hobby than as a serious sport in urban centres. For the uninitiated, bowling is a sport in which a player rolls down a bowling ball in oiled lanes with the aim of knocking down the 10 pins arranged in a triangular position at the end of the lane. Points are decided based on the number of pins knocked down.
At the Asian Games, ten-pin bowling will be played on surfaces with two different oiling conditions — the long oil and the medium oil pattern. Each player will play six games (three on each surface), with the teams ranked based on the total number of pinfalls. With the introduction of a new incentive-based scoring system in the Asian Games, first-mover advantage is largely negated.
While bowling has been a part of the Asian Games since 1978, India began fielding bowlers only in 2002. After three successive editions where India had little to write home about, the sports ministry decided not to send a team for the 2014 Games in Incheon.
Despite the lacklustre performance in previous editions, there is scope for a medal this year. The sport has been on the upswing since 2015, with the country winning at least one medal in major international competitions every year since then. Shabbir Dhankot kick-started the medal run with a silver at the Asian Bowling Championship in 2015.
He later won the Asian Indoor Games bronze medal along with Dhruv Sarda in 2017. With a similar field likely to take part in the Games, the expectation of a medal is not unwarranted.
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