Jackaroo Rebecca Van Asch announces international retirement
One of Australia’s most successful Jackaroos, Rebecca Van Asch, has called time on her international career, following more than 300 appearances in the green and gold spanning across more than a decade.
The 34-year-old Tasmanian has been a regular on the international arena since debuting in 2011 and sits in rarified air amongst Australian bowlers, as one of just five Jackaroos with multiple Commonwealth Games gold medals, sharing the record of two with Ellen Ryan, Carla Krizanic, Aaron Wilson and Natasha Van Eldik.
In the two Games that she participated in, the Jackaroos enjoyed their two most successful tournaments in history, with Gold Coast 2018 producing five gold medals and the historic Birmingham 2022 boasting three and becoming Australia’s most prosperous overseas tour.
Despite a less than ideal final outcome at the recent Games on a personal front, Van Asch was quick to demonstrate the team-first mentality and one-team ethos ingrained in the Jackaroos culture and was in the stands for every one of her teammates’ matches, no matter the time or the weather.
Van Asch has also performed exquisitely at the sport’s other pinnacle event, the World Bowls Championships, amassing five gold medals and was a member of the Taylor Trophy winning women’s team in Adelaide 2012 and Christchurch 2016.
Throughout her international career, Van Asch has saluted at events such as the Trans Tasman Test Series, Multi-Nations and the Asia Pacific Bowls Championships, making her CV one of the most illustrious in the world.
In addition to her love for national bowls, her passion to grow the sport within her home state of Tasmania is unparalleled, having helped to pioneer much of the region’s progression throughout her work as the state body’s chief executive officer.
The Invermay-product has been instrumental in the foundation of the Bowls Premier League (BPL) franchise, the Tasmania Tridents, which recently took part in the BPL15 finals in May.
On the national front, Van Asch has won everything there is to win, with five Australian Open titles across three disciplines, an abundance of national gold medals and this year was a member of the BPL15 All Star trio named at the conclusion of the tournament.
Her adoration for the sport has seen her take up the position of High Performance Manager within Bowls Australia‘ (BA)‘s national HP programme, and will continue to work diligently in the position as the team looks to build on its most successful overseas Commonwealth Games in Birmingham earlier this year.
Van Asch will remain on the green on the national arena, but admits the decision to leave behind her international chapter was a difficult one, having been one of life’s greatest honours.
“Wearing the green and gold, representing my country and being a member of the Jackaroos has been one of the greatest honours of my life,” she said.
“I’ve been toying with this decision for much of the past 12 months, and it is with my responsibility and dedication to my role as High Performance Manager front of mind that I have made this decision.
“I walk away with so many great memories and with friendships that will last a lifetime.
“My teammates and the people I have worked with in the program have had such a profound impact on my life as an athlete and as a person and I couldn’t be more grateful for this experience.”
Van Asch made first donned the green and gold at a junior event in 2004 before making her senior debut in 2011 as cap number 79 for the first of 302 international appearances, and is grateful for each one.
She notes that coming from her home state of Tasmania the journey has been a little more difficult than others, but hopes that she has represented the Apple Isle to the best of her ability.
“For much of the past 20 years my goals to represent Australia and compete on the international stage has been such a major part of who I am,” Van Asch said.
“It has probably been that little bitter harder coming from Tasmania, but I have cherished the opportunity to do my island state proud and I hope that I have paved the way for some of our future Tasmanian champions coming through, and they know that they can do it while they remain living and playing in Tasmania.”
Van Asch has labelled the support of her coaches and family as an inspiration, and looks forward to spending more quality time with her husband and daughter in and amongst her travel for work.
“Although I will still be travelling for work, my retirement will mean more time at home with my family which has also been a huge factor in this decision,” she said.
“My mum, Vicki and husband, Alex, have been my two rocks throughout my life and have supported me the whole way in pursuing my dreams and I can never thank them enough for that.
“The biggest magic in our life now though, is our daughter Alexis and my biggest goal in life is to be the best role model and support I can be for her.
“I would like to make special mention of coach Gary Willis, former coach Steve Glasson and the late Faye Luke, who were all such amazing support to me over my time in the Jackaroos.”
[Article and photograph provided with thanks to Bowls Australia – Rebecca is pictured left alongside Natasha Van Eldik and Carla Krizanic at the 2016 World Bowls Championships]
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