On a personal note, I have to admit to the serious error of not being at a European Youth Championships since way back in 1976 when it was held at the 16-lane Brunswick Bowl at the Quai au Foin in Brussels, Belgium.
In the intervening 36 years youth bowling has progressed so much and it is so heart warming to watch, not only for the pure enthusiasm the youngsters have for the sport but for the amazing talent both the boys and girls now possess.
Coaching has improved so much, shall we say something along the lines of 500 per cent since those early days of international competition? Now the kids understand the reaction of the different types of bowling balls and the lines to follow on the posted lane conditioning patterns. Ball speed, release and targets are all processed during the approach automatically and the future of tenpin seems to be very bright indeed if these youngsters are the shape of things to come.
29 nations are taking to the superb lanes of Lovvang Bowl, here in Norresundby, Aalborg over the next eight days, most with four boys and four girls but a few with lesser numbers, so the boy and girl who stand atop their respective podiums come Sunday evening will be worthy champions indeed.
After official practice, the managers' meeting and opening ceremony on Sunday, competition gets underway on Monday with the Boys Doubles over six games with the Girls' Doubles taking place on Tuesday. The top four teams in each division will advance to the semi-finals on Tuesday evening to fight for the gold, silver and bronze medals.
The four-person team events are contested over two three-game blocks on Wednesday and Thursday, again resulting in play-offs on Thursday evening.
Friday sees just the Boy's Singles six-games and Saturday has the Girl's Singles. Those play-offs commence on Saturday evening and will be followed by the eight matches of the Boy's Masters.
Competition concludes on Sunday with the Girls' Masters and then the finals for both the Boys and Girls Masters.
After the Masters medal ceremonies, all will return to the Hvide Hus Hotel for the Victory Banquet.
No decision has yet been made as to the host for the 2014 European Youth Championships but as soon as it is posted I will be making it a date in my diary. Keith Hale