BY ANNE-MARIE BOARD
Jenny Wegner of Sweden will try to become the fourth woman to win back-to-back World Cup titles when the 53rd QubicaAMF World Cup gets underway in Hermosillo, Mexico, on Nov. 4. In Shanghai last year, she qualified for the arena finals in fourth place, but defeated the leader, Beatrice Lim of Singapore, in the semifinal, then outlasted Danielle McEwan of the U.S. in the title match.
Wegner will face tough competition from the Dominican Republic’s Aumi Guerra, herself a two-time champion (2010 in Toulon, 2011 in Johannesburg). No woman has yet won the title three times: Could it be this year for Guerra?
Siu Hong Wu, the 2015 men's champion, will make a welcome return. He was the first player from Hong Kong to claim the title, when he beat Jaris Goh of Singapore in the semifinal, then Francois Louw of South Africa in the final. Last year’s third-place finisher, Anze Grabijan of Slovenia, will be returning as well. His third-place was the highest ever in the World Cup for a player from Slovenia.
Family connections run deep at the World Cup. The 2017 event will feature two mother and son combinations: Sue Abela and Justin Scicluna, representing Malta; and Shagdar and Odkhuu Narantuya, representing Mongolia. Sue will actually be competing for the 13th time in the event, while Justin has competed once before, in 2011. It is a first-time appearance for both Mongolian players. Then there is the father and daughter team of Valentin and Laura Piros from Romania, both of whom will be competing for the first time.
The husband and wife team of Khaled and Hela Meziou will be the competitors for Tunisia, for the eighth time, while Dhruv Sarda will be emulating his father yet again by representing India. Harsh Vardan Sarda bowled the event in 1999 and 2004. They are believed to be the only father and son combination ever to compete in the Bowling World Cup. Watching her son, Ryan, participate for Canada will be Miriam Reid, who bowled the 1978 event in Bogota, Colombia.
Both Mexican players will be taking part for the first time: Arturo Estrada and Maribel Orozco. Two Mexicans have won the title: The first was Irma Urrea, who won in 1972 in Hamburg, Germany, which was the first time women competed; and Alfonso Rodriguez, who took the title in 1985 in Seoul, South Korea.
No city has hosted more World Cups than Hermosillo. Tore Torgerson of Norway and Anne Jacobs of South Africa won the event there in 1994, and Derek Eoff of the USA and Jasmine Yeong-Nathan of Singapore won it there in 2008. Hermosillo also holds another Bowling World Cup claim to fame: It was the tournament’s host city when Jack Guay of Canada bowled the event’s first-ever perfect game. That was in 1994; Jack returned in 2008, when he presented the ball he had used for that notable 300 to Fernando Gutierrez, owner of the bowling centers.
In addition to the competition on the lanes, the players also look to win the Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Tournament awards. The awards are named after great supporters of the World Cup, Jacky Felsenstein and Barry James, respectively. Felsenstein was a doyenne of the bowling scene in Belgium and highly regarded by all, while James was a British journalist who covered the World Cup for Reuters and published the World Cup Review for many years. Two players competing this year have been honored in this way in the past: Sue Abela (1991) and Paolo Lopez of Portugal, who was chosen in 2015.