Two hours before Jesper Svensson got up on stage January 16 and received “Lilla Bragdguldet” (Rookie sportsman of the year award) Daniel Rönnbäck phoned Hampus Torstensson and launched Sweden’s first competition on the world tour. – If Jesper win we run the tournament.
We all know what happened next, Jonas Jacobsson read out Jesper Svensson’s name and facing a cheering crowd the 21-year-old got up on stage and received the award on live Swedish national television. The next day the young bowler was on the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet’s front page. The two-handed bowler from Vimmerby had lifted bowling to a new level. Then two bowling proprietor launched Lucky Larsen Masters, a tournament at the new, higher level.
– It is great for Swedish bowling that Daniel and Hampus has gone from idea to action, says Martin Larsen.
Hampus Torstensson and Daniel Rönnbäck have both attended bowling school in Nässjö and operates their bowling alleys with a huge passion for the sport of bowling, Hampus in Kungälv and Daniel Boden. Both are incredibly dedicated and driven, both are involved in the Swedish Bowling Proprietors Association (SBHF). They were thinking in autumn 2016: How do we get more Swedes interested in playing bowling?
– By the world’s best bowlers playing in Sweden, says Daniel Rönnbäck.
Thus they contacted the Swede Martin Larsen, according to the World Bowling rankings, the world’s best bowler, and asked if he wanted to tag along and start a great tournament in Sweden.
– When they came and asked me about this, to use my name for the tournament, I was happy. At the same time I thought about it a lot, it takes a very long time to build up a name, but it can be destroyed in seconds. I debated with myself, but concluded that if they believe in the idea that much, then it’s worth the risk to strengthen the name instead of the other way. It’s awesome to have come so far that they want to name a tournament after you, says ”Lucky Larsen”.
The 37-year-old Team Pergamon player, who 20 years ago dressed up with the blue and yellow Team Sweden jersey for the first time, has the experience to know what a tournament needs to become successful. That’s why he will have an eye on the sports part.
– Martin helps with the sporting piece, how the finals should be played, how many will make it to the final and so on. While details around the competition, such as shuttle service between airports, hotels and bowling alley will be managed by the tournament organization, says Daniel Rönnbäck and Martin Larsen adds:
– We’ll take care of the players. It should be simple and easy to play, there will be side activities, something fun on find on the side of the lanes as well, he says.
But it is not only Martin Larsen, who runs the contest. Kulladals BS with Mats Lunderquist foremost, will be the local organizers. City of Malmö supports the project, as well as Swedish Bowling Federation. Daniel Rönnbäck handles much of the administrative work and contacts with the various organsiations involved while Hampus Torstensson manages personal contacts with sponsors and financiers. Together they are working hard to create a really great tournament.
– There are many pieces left but it feels good. We just have to find some sponsors and ensure that the Swedish players come and play. All the stuff needed for this to be a recurrent event, says Martin Larsen.
One of the players who are positive for the competition and who will play is he who set the whole process in motion. He, that Monday in January, won Lilla Bragdguldet and got Daniel Rönnbäck and Hampus Torstensson started.
– It’s great fun for Swedish bowling that we get such a big tournament. This is much needed and we must keep our fingers crossed that it will be a popular event that can live on, says Jesper Svensson.