World Games begin Thursday with mixed doubles

CALI, Colombia - With 24 countries from across the globe ready to compete, the first event of the 2013 World Games will get underway Thursday with mixed doubles.

The delegations were welcomed with a brief opening ceremony prior to the official practice on Wednesday at the Cali Bowling Coliseum. The players also learned they will compete on the 40-foot Athens pattern this week.

Competition gets underway Thursday morning with two squads of mixed doubles qualifying. Each country will bowl six games and the top three teams will advance to the stepladder finals Thursday night.

Team USA's Kelly Kulick and Mike Fagan will compete on the first of the two squads Thursday and will try to put themselves in position to win the first World Games gold medal in bowling for the United States.

Since the World Games began in 1981, the United States has won two silver and three bronze medals but has been shut out of the gold medals in the event, which is held every four years.

The players' individual scores from the mixed doubles carry forward and are combined with 12 additional qualifying games of singles on Friday and Saturday. The top 10 men and top 10 women after the 18 games advance to round robin match play Sunday  morning with all qualifying pinfall dropped. The top three men and top three women after match play advance to the stepladder finals.

The United States will be joined by American Zone countries Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Representing the European Zone will be England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Ukraine. Japan, Korea, Macau China, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Chinese Taipei will represent the Asian Zone.