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Nora Johansson is doing her thing

02 MAJ 2019 15:00
16-year-old Nora Johansson from Sweden was the first girl to play an international championships twohanded, and now even Jason Belmonte knows who she is.
- I hope more girls start to play twohanded, she says.
  • Uppdaterad: 02 MAJ 2019 15:00

At the European Youth Championships in Vienna, this Easter, one third of the boys played with two hands on their bowling ball, a five percent increase from last year. But this year was the first time we saw a girl play an international championships twohanded. That has made people from all over the world notice 16-year-old Nora Johansson from Eksjö, Sweden.
- Nora has a very strong strike delivery and once she learns to control it even better, she will win many events. I wish her all the best, says the world’s best bowler, and twohanded, pioneer Jason Belmonte from Australia.

Only two years ago Nora Johansson saw some boys in her hometown play twohanded, like last year’s gold medalist in Masters at the EYC: Oskar Wirefeldt. She saw the speed, power, rotation, hook and strike that it gave them. She decided to try it and showed her coach, former national team member Christer Danielsson, who thought it looked good. From there she made it her thing.
- I wasn’t as good as a one-hander, so it was more fun to play with two hands. There were more revolutions and so on, says Nora Johansson.

Nora JohanssonDespite not seeing any other girls playing twohanded she continued. It was her thing, what made her special and unique. But at the same time, it made her nervous to show up at competitions, being alone with her style. The revolutions and hook she generates with two hands make her go further left on the lane than her opponents.
- It’s another type of game and I have to do my thing. I can’t play like the other girls, because I can’t play that far out, most of the time, she says but she also recognizes the benefits.
- Sometimes it can be really good, often you carry all of the pins, she says.

The power that makes all the pins fall more often with two hand, the possibility to create a greater entry-angel into the pocket, is what makes Jason Belmonte a little surprised that someone like Nora hasn’t shown up earlier.
- I have been waiting for a girl to use the 2 handed style for a long time. I always felt that the style would benefit women a lot because most ladies need a little more rotation to generate more power, he says.

The assistant coach for the Swedish youth national team, 26-year-old Amanda Andersson, thinks that the force of habit is one reason why it took so long before a girl played with two hands at a high level.
- I think one can look at it this way, there aren’t a lot of women playing with a lot of speed and revolutions. Women are usually more conservative and the women saying: “Let’s hook the ball” stand out a bit more, she says and Nora Johansson agrees:
- Nobody really kept going with their thing, they went back to something they feel more comfortable with. Maybe because of peer-pressure? People don’t want to do their thing, instead they do it the same way everyone else does, she says.

Nora Johansson kept doing “her thing” and it made her a part of the Swedish team at the EYC in Vienna during Easter. After a nervous start the girl from Eksjö won two bronze-medals, one in team and one in All-event, maybe the most prestigious event where the weeks results are added up.
- It’s really cool, of course. I was feeling more nervous back home before I got here. When you get here it feels like a small competition, really. Then when you look back on it, when you get home, it has been pretty big. It has been fun; I think I played well. It has been beyond my expectation, she says.

It takes courage and inner strength to stand out and to be unique. The coach Amanda Andersson Nora Johansson at the EYC contributes a part of Nora Johansson’s medals and success, so far, to those traits.
- The twohanded style creates a little more strikes when it hits, and it shows. But I think Nora has a winner mentality and some toughness. She decided that she was going to do this. It takes a little of that mentality to go all the way, she says.

Nora Johansson will take another step on her way this fall when she will enroll at the Swedish Bowling Academy. A school that has been attended by twohanded players like Jesper Svensson, William Svensson and the Oskar Wirefeldt. There she will make friends and learn more about bowling, and herself.
- The fun thing is the comradery you get, you get to know more friends whom you can meet up with at competitions, she says while she also hopes to learn how to keep doing her thing.
- To be more confident and doing what feels right instead of listening to other people, she says.

Just like at the EYC, Nora Johansson will be the only girl, at the Swedish Bowling Academy, playing with two hands. But probably not for long. She is already getting messages.
- I hope more girls start playing twohanded, doing their thing. It would be cool. It feels like there is going to be more competition soon, says Nora Johansson.

Skribent: Markus Hegnelius
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