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Nathan Shows Lack of Class by Attacking America's Bowling Industry

June 12, 2003

Although I have covered international amateur bowling tournaments for more than 30 years, I don't consider myself an expert at global internal politics.   I have never bothered to join the World Bowling Writers Association although I probably have covered 50 international amateur events in places like New York City, Reno, Las Vegas Orlando, Winnipeg and Calgary.   I was there to cover the bowling tournament and not to get deeply involved in FIQ or World Tenpin Bowling Association politics.

Recently I wrote a story that wound up being an endorsement for Joyce Deitch when she announced that she would be a candidate for the presidency of the WTBA when elections are held in Kuala Lumpur during September's World Championships.   I wrote the story because I know Joyce personally and believe she made the best of the four past WIBC presidents I have covered.  Based upon my personal observations over the past 10 years, I felt she would make a great WTBA president. She knows how to delegate authority and how to get things done effectively and efficiently.   She never solicited my support or asked me to write a word about her presidency bid. I did it because I believe in her gifted leadership ability.   I had nothing against Malaysian P.S. Nathan, the current president of the World Tenpin Bowling Association who is seeking reelection. I had met him twice and found him to be a man who has a deep interest in tenpin bowling.  

I had no strong feeling pro or con.   But I have changed my mind after reading a Tony Mariadass' story  that was sent out via the Internet that centered on quotes and points made by P.S. Nathan.  If the quotes are accurate, and according to sources they are accurate, then I think Nathan has made a terrible mistake and definitely is not be the right person to lead the WTBA into the future.

Below are what I consider politically incorrect quotes and points that really turned me against Nathan's candidacy.

"It is really disturbing and quite frightening to note that the Americans are trying to gain control of both the bodies of the sport, just like everything else in the world," Nathan is quoted as saying.   The writer then points out that Jerry Koenig, an American, is president of the International Bowling Federation (FIQ).   "We certainly cannot allow this because it not only does not augur well for the game, but this kind of culture cannot be accepted," Nathan is quoted as saying.   Above all, Nathan said the bowling world cannot allow America to dictate the scene because they have everything to gain from it.   "American dominates the bowling industry and little is given to the others.  "Ninety-five percent of most of the equipment is manufactured in America and 95 percent or more profits go back to them. But their source of income is Europe and Asia and at least 10 percent of the profits should go back to that source, but it is not.  "And if the WTBA is governed by America, the world of bowling will be the loser."   Later the writer closes by saying:   And with the WTBA elections being held at home, it would be a slap in the face of Malaysians if a Malaysian head is removed in his own backyard.   If Nathan is afraid of losing the elections and personal face in his homeland, then he should not run for the office.  If Nathan thinks U.S. companies are bilking other countries, then he should urge bowlers from Europe and Asia to buy equipment that is built in other nations. They won't do it because most of the best equipment comes from America.

I was embarrassed to read Nathan's inflammatory quotes about America. I have always thought that sports in general and bowling in particular have climbed above tumultuous world politics.   Even when countries are at odds with each other politically and sometimes even militarily, there has been mutual respect between amateur bowlers on the lanes and at tournament sites. And that's the way it should be in every sport.

And finally, if he thinks Joyce Deitch is a power hungry American monster then he's a terrible judge of character.  Joyce Deitch wants to be president because she thinks she can help the World Tenpin Bowling Association...not America...achieve great new things.   And win or lose, I bet you never will find Joyce Deitch making a derogatory statement against another person (even Nathan) or bowling group from another nation.   She has too much class for anything like that.

And in my opinion, the president of every bowling organization or industry needs just that --  A Touch of Class.