KARACHI - Pakistan Tenpin Bowling Federation (PTBF) secretary Ijazur Rehman announced to hold the First Pakistan Open International Tenpin Bowling Championship early next year.

Talking to The Nation on Tuesday, Ijaz said: “The international event will be the first ever of its kind, in which more than 50 foreign bowlers will participate. The event will be organised in Karachi at newly-constructed bowling alley at Aitrium Mall, which will be ready by early next year and its inauguration will be marked with a big event to be held in collaboration with Virtual Axis.”

“During a meeting, Ricardo Pinto, an Italian-based European Brunswick in-charge, has promised to cooperate and send maximum players to play alongside Pakistani bowlers which will not only help in promoting the game bit also assist in reviving international sports in Pakistan. We have also talked to players like John Smith of Portugal, Islamove of Uzbekistan and Lukas, team Navigator in charge and all of them have shown keen interest and promised to cooperate in the best possible way, which is a very encouraging sign indeed,” Ijaz stated.

He claimed that Karachi was relatively considered as calm and peaceful place abroad and another thing, which went in their favour, was the number of bowling clubs in the city which has more than 75 percent of bowling clubs as compare to only 25 percent in the rest of the country.

“The decision of holding the international event in Karachi was purely taken on merit. Though we have option of holding the in the capital but the way Virtual Axis managed the Second PTBF Ranking Tenpin Bowling event, it showed their commitment and dedication and forced us to allocate the event to the people of Karachi as a token of appreciation and thanks to the players of Karachi whose positive response was exceptional and encouraged us to organise more big events for them,” Ijaz believed.

The PTBF said they were also planning to launch joint ventures with Virtual Axis in near future and they had already chalked out a plan of starting chains of bowling clubs in Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Sialkot, Multan, Faisalabad and AJK.

“It is my humble request to Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif to allocate pieces of lands in different parts of the province where we may construct bowling clubs at our self finance basis. This gesture of him will be indeed a great help to not only the bowlers but also help the country in presenting its softer image to the outer world,” Ijaz concluded.

Sharing his views, Virtual Axis CEO Kh Ahmed Mustaqeem said: “I am very grateful to PTBF secretary Ijaz for keeping faith in our abilities and I want to take this opportunity and reassure that we will left no stone unturned to make the Pakistan Open a remarkable event.”

“When the foreign players will return to their respective countries, they will tell about the behaviour and hospitality rendered to them and will promote the original image of our country, which is the main and utmost aim of holding the international event,” he added.

“We have signed a long-term MoU with the PTBF aiming to promote the game which is gaining popularity across the country but unfortunately, it is restricted to only big cities but the establishment of bowling clubs in different cities will help us in achieving our aims,” Kh Ahmed stated.

He said bowling alley at Atrium in Sadder was in final stages, which would also include international snooker club, arcade for kids and cover almost all the indoor sports, while the eight-lane bowling club would be the simply state of the art club. The Hyderabad bowling alley will be the first ever 14-lane club constructed in the country and will hold international events here, he added.

“We will construct world class academy in different parts of the country and invite the world's best coaches to impart training to our players and also send them abroad for training and appearing in various international events,” Kh Ahmed concluded.