28 January 2014
South Africa’s elite bowlers will be targeting places at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, when national trials are held at the end of this month. At the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, South African bowlers claimed three gold medals.
Five men and five women lawn bowlers will represent the country at the multi-sport showpiece, together with two blind and three disabled bowlers. They have a proud record to uphold.
Best in Delhi
South Africa’s three gold medals in Delhi was the most won by any of the 24 competing nations, with the titles coming in the men’s pairs, and the men’s and women’s trips.
The selectors will name the team after a Gold Squad final trials camp, which includes 16 bowlers of each gender, at Edenvale Bowling Club from 31 January to 2 February.
The team will be announced, subject to approval by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), at the annual Warwick Wealth/Bowls SA Masters in Johannesburg on 13 February.
The standard and stakes are high, with limited spots available in the team, and there will be no quarter asked or given in a code where South Africa boasts an enviable record.
Commonwealth Games record
The country has secured 30 medals (12 gold) at the Commonwealth spectacle since the inaugural 1930 British Empire Games in Ontario, to lie fourth in the all-time list behind England (39), Australia (36) and New Zealand (35).
This year’s Games will involve around 6 500 athletes from 70 nations in 17 sports, with bowlers competing in singles, pairs and trips at one of Glasgow’s most famous parks, the picturesque Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre.
Champions back in the mix
No one can be assured of a place in the team, but six of the eight champions from Delhi – Gerry Baker, Wayne Perry, Tracy-Lee Botha, Gidion Vermeulen, Santjie Steyn and Susan Nel – are back in the mix.
Prince Neluonde, who made an impressive debut against Namibia late last year, will attempt to become the first black African bowler to compete at the Games.
‘Highly respected worldwide’
“South African bowls is highly respected worldwide,” Bowls South Africa President Allan Freeman said in a statement on Monday.
“Our medal tally in the highly competitive international arena underlies our players’ unbelievable standard of discipline and skill. The country will hope another gold haul is ‘mined’, this time from Glasgow.”
The Commonwealth Games’ bowls programme will include fully integrated competing para-sport athletes.
Spectators are welcome at the all-day national trials.
WOMEN: Tracy-Lee Botha (Jhb), Gaylyn Bedford-Owen (Sables), Sylvia Burns (WP), Pam Cole-Cook (Kingfisher), Theuna Grobler (WP), Louise Larkin (Port Natal), Geraldine Moodaley (N Cape) Susan Nel (Sables), Nici Neal (Sables), Denise Musson (N Cape), Colleen Piketh (JBA), Esme Steyn (JBA), Santjie Steyn (Boland), Rene Swanepoel (WP), Lourenza van der Merwe (EP), Bronwyn Webber (P Natal)
MEN: Pikkie Abbott (North West), Gerry Baker (JBA), Pierre Breitenbach (NW), Bobby Donnelly (JBA), Jason Evans (JBA), Peter Hufkie (EP), Rudi Jacobs (NFS), Rufus McCarthy (Gauteng N), Hertzog Meiring (SFS), Stuart Milligan (P Natal), Prince Neluonde (JBA), Thinus Oelofse (E Gauteng), Wayne Perry (JBA), Conrad Potgieter (Border), Nic Rusling (Sables), Gidion Vermeulen (P Natal)