New world event gets underway at Bristol
The proud and historic City of Bristol in south west England will play host to a brand new world championship for indoor bowls, with 64 star players from 29 countries across the globe bidding to win world titles from today (Monday 25) to Friday 29 April, 2022.
The intriguing event is the product of a merger of flagship events on the part of World Bowls (WB), who run the sport worldwide, and the former World Indoor Bowls Council (WIBC), who recently changed their name to the International Indoor Bowls Council (IIBC).
Before the IIBC affiliated to WB, both organisations ran their own world indoor championships, the WB in Warilla in New South Wales, and the IIBC usually somewhere in the northern hemisphere. In Bristol, they are delighted to present a new format that combines the best of both events.
Gary Smith, the CEO of World Bowls, said: “We are delighted that in partnership with the IIBC, we are able to finally launch this much anticipated event, which will showcase a truly global level of participation, including a host of leading exponents of our great sport. We are most grateful to the first class Bristol Indoor Bowling Club and its members, and to the host nation authority EIBA for their commitment and support, and know that these Championships will be an outstanding success.”
David Phillips, the secretary of the IIBC added: “Our association with World Bowls enables us to bring together bowlers from all corners of the world to participate in these World Indoor Championships, with 64 players involved from 29 different countries, the winner of each of the three disciplines can rightly call themselves World Champions.”
The event, originally scheduled for 2020, was delayed by the COVID-19 Pandemic. It will comprise men’s singles, women’s singles and mixed pairs championships.
The field for the men’s singles includes Scotland’s Stewart Anderson, the holder of the IIBC men’s title, while Gary Kelly, a young Irishman, who plays professionally in Australia, will play as the holder of the WB Men’s World Cup.
Other strong contenders for the men’s title include Welsh star Robert Chisholm, England’s indoor champion Andy Walters, and high-flying Scot Mike Stepney, who is a member of the World Bowls Tour Top Sixteen. England’s David Bolt, Australia’s Robert Biglia, Canada’s Hirenra Bhartu, South Africa’s Jason Evans and Turkey’s Ozkan Akar are also well known on the international circuit.
The favourites for the women’s title include Guernsey’s Alison Merrien, MBE, who is the holder of the IIBC women’s title, Scotland’s prolific Julie Forrest, and South Africa’s Commonwealth Games gold medallist Colleen Piketh. However, strong challenges are sure to come from young England star Devon Cooper, Ireland’s Sandra Bailie, Scotland’s Claire Anderson and Welsh duo Kelly Packwood and Amy Williams.
While many of the world’s top players will be competing, a feature of the event is that it has attracted entries from countries that are not well known for bowls, and it will be fascinating to watch players from Hungary, Switzerland, Sweden, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Jamaica and the Falkland Islands in action.
Bowls, of course, is a highly accessible and ‘democratic’ sport, where anyone can beat anyone ‘on the day’, and it will be interesting to see how many David & Goliath stories emerge in Bristol over the five days of the World Bowls Indoor Championships.
The Bristol club regards it as a great honour to have been selected to host the inaugural dual hemisphere World Bowls Indoor Bowls Championship. Lewis Toman, for the club, said: “We were delighted to be put on a shortlist of English clubs to host the event, and, when we were selected, it fulfilled our ambition of being a truly international bowls club.”
Mr Toman added: “We have enthusiastic volunteers covering a multitude of roles, and it’s been heartwarming to receive the unreserved support of club members. It helps that we have hosted a number of British Isles bowling events in the past, and we also acknowledge the expert guidance from WB CEO Gary Smith, David Phillips of IIBC and Peter Thompson of the EIBA.”
Entry will be by ticket, Tickets are available from the EIBA on 01664 481900, or from the Bristol Indoor Bowls Club on 0117 963 3460 (or email email@example.com) Cost is £5.00 per ticket per day, with a 5 day ticket being available for £20.00.
We are aware of several comments and posts within the bowls community on social media advertising live streaming of the World Indoor Bowls Championships currently taking place at Bristol. Please do not click any of these links as they are scams and are not live streaming channels.
Bowls International is the World’s No.1 bowling magazine, established in 1981. A full report of the World Indoor Championships will be included in the June issue.
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