Deaflympics tryouts conclude at ITRC

ARLINGTON, Texas – Tryouts for the United States team for the 2013 Deaflympics wrapped up at the International Training and Research Center in Arlington on Sunday. While the final team will be determined at a later date, two veterans led the way during the tryouts.

“The tryouts were a success as far as the way we wanted to run it,” said Ed Abakumoff, chairperson of the Ad-Hoc committee on bowling for the USA Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF). “Everyone enjoyed themselves, though some might not have bowled as well as they wanted. But they were happy with the experience.”

Deaf tryouts Day 2 groupWhile Robert Ellison of San Diego averaged 194 on the Seoul pattern (39 feet), he struggled a little with the London pattern (44 feet) on Sunday. He finished with a 175.7 average for the 18 games to lead the men’s field.

Ellison competed at the Deaflympics in Melbourne, Australia, in 2005 and the 2009 games in Taipei. He also took part in the 2011 World Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last year.

“It would be my third time to bowl Deaflympics,” Ellison said. “It’s never easy; it’s a challenge. But it is fun competing against other countries. Look to the right you see Japan and Korea, look to the left and see Germany, France. The one thing about sign language is you can pretty much communicate with each other. It’s cool, I really look forward to bowling with other people from all over the world.”

Jerilyn Keller of San Antonio was the top women’s performer at the tryouts with a 166.1 average for the 18 games. She has been on the last four U.S. women’s bowling teams at the Deaflympics. She took gold in singles in 1997 in Copenhagen, and was part of the U.S. team that won silver in 2001 in Rome and 2005 in Melbourne. She was sixth in singles at the 2009 games in Taipei.

“It was a good challenge,” said Keller. “It was a good experience to compete on the different oil patterns. I was motivated to try to do my best. I learned a lot.”

The two-day tryout is part of the process to determine the team that will represent the United States at the 2013 Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria. Participants bowled six games each on three World Tenpin Bowling Association (WTBA) lane conditions – Stockholm (34 feet) and Seoul on Saturday, and London on Sunday.

The USADSF, the national organization for deaf sports and a member of the United States Olympic Committee as a community-based multisport organization, is waiting for the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) to decide the format for bowling for the 2013 Deaflympics.

The ICSD is the international governing body that is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the sole organization of sporting events for deaf athletes.