You’d think being a champion lawn bowler would require a very sharp eye.
Well in this case seeing isn’t believing for competitors at the National Blind Bowls Tournament.
While players have a range of vision impairment, they are doing the sport they love and having a good time.
Tess Gilfedder reports.
Clear and sunny skies made for a perfect day on the green for these bowlers representing every state in the country.
They gathered at Aspley Memorial Bowls Club for the 33rd annual tournament which runs for eight days.
Players are separated into divisions for the tournament, B1 to B4, dependant on their level of vision impairment.
John Lang, Queensland Blind Bowlers Association: “We’re all legally blind, but those that, a lot of us have some vision. So we’re put into different categories according to that. And then there are those who are totally blind and they’re in a special category by themselves.”
Extra assistance is also given to the more than fifty players competing.
Graham Allen, Chairman, Aspley Memorial Bowls Club: “Every one of those participants have what they call a director, which is their assistant to help them, tell them where the bowls are and where it goes.”
If one thing’s for sure it’s that these players aren’t held back by their vision impairment.
Mike Hall, NSW Vision Impaired Blind Bowlers: “Some of these bowlers on the green that you’re watching now are actually far better than some of those elite bowlers.”
Organisers hope the tournament will encourage more vision-impaired players to join their local club.
John Lang, Queensland Blind Bowlers Association: “Well I think it’s important that people with disabilities, in this case vision impairmwent, are able to get out and about and do things that sighted people are able to do, within our own limitations.”
The games in this tournament will serve as trials for the World Cup in England next year, where Australia will defend their title.
The team will be annoucned on the 20th of May.
Tess Gilfedder, QUT News.