By Alana Mitchelson
ONE of Pakenham’s very own ended the year as Australia’s number one ranked female tenpin bowler for the fourth consecutive year.
Bec Whiting has achieved her best results yet in 2016, securing seventh place in the QubicaAMF World Cup in Shanghai and a silver medal at the Commonwealth Championships singles event in South Africa.
The 26-year-old started bowling competitively at age 13 and she has represented Australia for the past seven years.
“I started getting serious about tenpin bowling about three years in,” Bec said.
“The fact that bowling has taken me travelling and to make friends all over the world is just amazing.“
One of the highlights of her travels was going on a safari in Johannesburg during the Commonwealth Championships and going into a lion cub enclosure.
Bec said she was one of the youngest bowlers in the Australian women’s team.
She said ages ranged between the 30 to 45-year-old mark, while their international competitors were usually aged in their twenties and thirties.
The World Championships involved competitors bowling in all categories: singles, doubles, trios and teams.
It’s an exhausting six games each day, across four days.
Bec said she felt tenpin bowling was not given enough recognition in the Australian sporting sphere.
“To be completely honest, I think the sport is in decline,” she said.
“Footy and cricket take up a lot of attention.
“I feel as though people make assumptions about tenpin bowling based on movies where people are eating fried food and drinking beers. It’s viewed as more of a social thing.
“We’ve had quite a few centres close in Australia in recent years.”
Bec attributed this partly to tenpin bowling not being considered a “physical” or “active” sport.
But Bec told the Gazette she trained three times a week.
Her regime includes fitness exercises, as well as improving her bowling accuracy and practising hitting spares.
“People see bowling as quite easy I think but there’s a lot of general fitness and gym work involved,” she said.
“And it’s full body. You need strong legs for balance and strong arms because the bowling ball weighs about seven kilograms.
“It takes a lot of toll on your body after a while.”
She said her most local competitive sized lanes were in Narre Warren.
“There’s nothing based in Pakenham,” Bec said.
“I think that maybe down the track, especially as the population grows, there could definitely be a need for a centre in Pakenham.“