KARACHI    -    Pakistan Tenpin Bowling Federation (PTBF) vice president Khawaja Ahmed Mustaqeem has promised to establish international-standard bowling alleys throughout Pakistan and especially in Lahore.

In an interview with The Nation, Khawaja Ahmed, who is also CEO of Virtual Axis Pakistan, said after establishing state-of-the-art two-lane bowling alley at Pavilion End Club, Karachi, where around 300 kids are enjoying learning the art of bowling and that too without paying a single penny, they are keen to expand this noble cause to the entire country. “My vision is to involve masses in tenpin bowling, that’s why I am going to construct bowling clubs in entire country. I extend offer to all the club houses and club owners to step forward and join hands with me.

“Bowling is an expensive game, but it is my promise that we will ensure the beginners will be provided highly subsided rates, so that they may come and learn this art. For bowling, highly conducive environment is required and I am going to construct a 24-lane international standard bowling alley in Lahore.

“I am searching for suitable location, as soon as I find it, I will start construction of bowling alley in Lahore. It is my promise that I will help PTBF and World Tenpin Bowling Federation (WTBF) to ensure maximum world class event in Lahore, where more than 100 top bowlers will be playing alongside Pakistani bowlers,” he added.

He said Virtual Axis, in collaboration with bowlers of Karachi, has installed worth Rs 2 million oiling machine at Arena Karsaz for 16 lanes club, which is till date Pakistan’s biggest bowling club. “It was long required, as not a single bowling club of the country had the much-needed oiling machine at their clubs. I feel proud that we managed to import oiling machine from USA and now bowlers, who are playing at arena will take their game to new level.”

He said with the arrival of oiling machine, Pakistani bowlers, who averaged around 170 to 180, will now raise their average to around 200. “We badly missed average of 200 during the international events despite having top class players. Bowling is my passion and when I stopped playing bowling, I turned my focus towards passing on my vast knowledge to generation next.

“Our players lack facilities and investment and if provided, the same players can break world records. So I decided to lend a helping hand to young talent, which can’t afford heavy prices set by respected bowling clubs. Virtual Axis was formed in 2013 and since then, we have borne expenditures and other things and helped talented players to become national players,” he added.

He said now he has recently discovered Pakistan’s future bowling player in UAE, Asadullah Kashif, who averaged 209 this year in Dubai’s international tournament. He will represent Pakistan team in 25th Asia Cup starting from October 19 in Kuwait. “I am sure he will help Pakistan end international medal drought, while Salah Muhammad and Amjed, who live in Malaysia, were discovered and brought into main fold.

“PTBF Secretary Ijaz has been working very hard to promote this game in the country. In our playing days, there were 30 players in the country and more than half of those were from Karachi. In few years, we worked really hard and now we have 800 professional bowlers including Sardar Ahmer Abbas Ababs Saldera, Ali Suria, Robert Singara, Sajjad, Fazil Maniya, Unaib Shafi, Abdul Hadi, Daniyal Ur Rehman and Ijaz Ur Rehman,” he added.

“I want to thank my father Khawaja Munir Ahmed Sohawardi and my younger brother Khawaja Ahmed Fawad for always supporting me and taking my dream and mission very seriously. Without both of them, I could have never fulfilled my dream of playing bowling and helping generation next,” he asserted.

Khawaja Ahmed sought government support and especially of IPC Minister Dr Fahmida Mirza regarding constructing new bowling alleys. “If we are provided with land, we can construct our own bowling clubs, where talented players will be provided free training and coaching. Last year, 1000 kids from different schools of Karachi participated in an inter-school event and now in the second inter-school event, more than 3000 kids have already shown interest from 320 schools of Sindh.”

“Our PM, Imran Khan, is a sportsman and we expect a lot from him regarding better of Pakistan sports. We are now facing heavy duties on import of bowling equipments, which is hampering our efforts. I request Dr Fahmida MIrza to take up this issue with the PM and help in minimizing the duties. It will be a massive help by the minister and all the bowlers will consider her as their true champion,” Kh Ahmed concluded.