The Disability Bowls Nationals had an influx of new bowlers, a development that bowler Christopher Patton partly attributes to the coverage of lawn bowling in ROLLING INSPIRATION. This year’s event, which was held in the Sables District in West Rand, had the highest turnout of first-time participants ever.
“A third of the field was made of debutants. We’d like to believe that the coverage in ROLLING INSPIRATION played no small part in attracting new members and inspiring them to play in a tournament exclusively for bowlers with disabilities,” Patton notes.
The number of male entrants is usually large enough to allow them to play singles in their respective classification (based on an individual’s disability, balance and strength). In the last decade, the number of female bowlers was usually too low, which forced them to either play in a multi-classification single group, or else to play with their male counterparts.
“This year, however, we were thrilled to see the number of female entrants more than double from four entrants in 2016 to eight. While it may sound insignificant, it’s a genuine increase and sets a platform for the future,” says Patton.
Three bowlers excelled during the tournament, winning gold medals in both singles and pairs. Congratulations to Wimpie Viljoen (Northern Cape), Handre Visagie (Southern Free State) and Desiree Levin (Johannesburg).