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Story by:  Bill Vint - pba.com

SEATTLE – The Professional Bowlers Association and Japan Bowling Promotions have jointly announced an historic agreement that will create the first PBA International Regional program, a series that will serve as a qualifying system for the DHC Japan World Challenge in January, 2015.

The first events, the PBA Japan Women’s DHC Cheetah Open and PBA Japan DHC Cheetah Open for men and women, will be held July 5 and 6, respectively, at Tokyo Port Bowl in Tokyo.

“I am very excited,” said Japan Bowling Promotions Managing Director Shinichiro Kinoshita. “This program has been a goal since we formed our company five years ago. It is a huge leap forward for the sport of bowling.”

“The cultivation of very high level competition that will help develop world-class bowling talent around the globe has always been a goal of the PBA,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark. “This landmark program is an example of how cooperation at the highest levels can produce great results for the international bowling community.”

The inaugural PBA Japan Regional series will include eight tournaments – six sponsored by DHC Corporation, Japan’s largest skincare product company and two with multiple sponsors. Five of the events will be for men, three for women. All of the tournaments will involve qualifying for the 2015 DHC Japan World Challenge, a PBA International Tour event that will feature an estimated $225,000 prize fund for its men’s and women’s divisions next January.

All of the PBA Japan Regional events will be contested on PBA “animal pattern” lane conditions, providing international players an opportunity to experience the same lane conditioning patterns that are used in PBA Tour competition in the United States. The regionals will be open to any bowler who cares to enter.

The regional format will be: one-day events start with two squads bowling eight qualifying games. The top 14 per squad will bowl two more qualifying games with the top eight per squad bowling two additional games. The top four per squad will then advance to single-elimination match play to determine winners. Each regional will feature an estimated $20,000 prize fund. The top four men and top two women based on competition points at the end of the regional series will automatically qualify for the DHC Japan World Challenge.

“We have held numerous meetings with the PBA over the past six months to establish this tour,” Kinoshita said. “We have faced many twists and turns, but we have solved problems along the way and the PBA has given us the go-ahead.

“We want to provide our Japanese athletes with an opportunity to look beyond Japan to world-wide tournaments,” Kinoshita continued. “We hope to create a hero who will attract more news media coverage and build our reputation.

“We thank our sponsors, the Japan bowling centers that have supported us, the Japan bowling industry and the PBA for working hard to help us achieve this goal. Without their cooperation, we could not have accomplished this program.”

Clark and PBA Deputy Commissioner Kirk Von Krueger, who spearheaded the project, will attend the July 12-13 Women’s DHC Chameleon Open and DHC Chameleon Open at Sound Bowl in Ushiku.

For more information about the PBA Japan Regional program, visit Japan Bowling Promotions’ Japanese-language website: http://www.japanbowlingpromotion.com/user_data/regional.php

2014 PBA JAPAN REGIONAL SCHEDULE

Saturday, July 5 – PBA Japan Women’s DHC Cheetah Open, Tokyo Port Bowl, Tokyo

Sunday, July 6 – PBA Japan DHC Cheetah Open, Tokyo Port Bowl, Tokyo

Saturday, July 12 – PBA Japan Women’s DHC Chameleon Open, Sound Bowl, Ushiku, Japan

Sunday, July 13 – PBA Japan DHC Chameleon Open, Sound Bowl, Ushiku, Japan

Monday, Sept. 15 – PBA Japan Viper Open, Sagami Fast Lane, Sagamihara, Japan

Saturday, Nov. 8 – PBA Japan Women’s DHC Scorpion Open, Higashiyamoto Grand Bowl, Tokyo

Sunday, Nov. 9 - PBA Japan DHC Scorpion Open, Higashiyamoto Grand Bowl, Tokyo

TBA – PBA Japan Badger Open, date and location to be announced

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