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March 8, 2003

Deaf Team USA Takes To The Lanes

From: - 08 Mar 2003

March 8, 2003

For Deaf Team USA, the only difficult thing about competing in the American Bowling Congress Championships Tournament is hearing the announcements before bowling. But once they get on the lanes, they are just as good as anyone else who bowls at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Deaf Team USA, the Team USA equivalent for the Deaf Olympics, consists of Ed Abakumoff of Riverside, Calif., Matt Pocci Jr. of Rancho Bernardo, Calif., Kevin Moran of Rochester, N.Y., Bob Coker of Springfield, Ill., and David Reeves of Indianapolis.

Abakumoff, the team’s captain, said that although his team didn’t do exceptionally well – Deaf Team USA shot 2,704 – he had a good time bowling this year’s Tournament.

“I enjoyed it,” Abakumoff said. “Comparing this year to what I did in the past, I did much better. I had one bad game in team and doubles. I did pretty good and singles was OK.”

Abakumoff, who bowled 524 in team, 654 in doubles and 537 in singles for 1,715 all-events, says being deaf isn’t that much of a hindrance when bowling.

“Personally, among the hearing, it’s not too much of a problem,” Abakumoff said. “For my fellow bowlers, just not being able to hear everything that is said makes it difficult. Especially in the squad room and the public address system. For us that’s a way of life.”

Abakumoff, who participated in the 2001 Deaf World Games in Rome, Italy, was quick to point out some of the similarities and differences between the hearing and non-hearing world.

“We’re just like the rest of the bowlers,” he said. “We’re here to bowl. We have bowlers who are just as good or better than most bowlers. All the sports that are in the Olympics, we have those in our Deaflympics, but ours has bowling. The hearing Olympics doesn’t have bowling in it.”

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