Two international representatives will join bowls immortality in Australia over the next two weeks when the sport crowns this year’s men’s and women’s world singles champions.
A stellar field of fifty-three contenders hailing from thirty-two countries will strive for the ultimate honour at Sydney’s palatial St Johns Park Bowls Club in the 15th World Singles Champion of Champions.
Commencing on October 30 for seven days of competition, the event features twenty-nine men and twenty-four women in action on the pristine greens at St Johns Park.
Qualifying rounds will be conducted continuously over the first five days, with semi finals on Saturday 4 November, followed by the men’s and women’s world finals on Sunday 5 November.
This annual championship, first conducted in Australia at Moama in 2003, offers the ultimate ‘rags to riches’ fairytale story – fact is, any club singles winner, anywhere in the world, can progress through at regional, state and national level to win a shot at a world title – a place in this competition is won out on the green without the necessity to curry favour with national selectors.
This year’s field will no doubt comprise several players who fall under the ‘previously unheralded’ category, while it also carries a spate of the sport’s heavy hitters. Australia’s Carla Krizanic won two gold medals at last year’s world championships in Christchurch in the women’s triples and fours, while Laura Daniels from Wales claimed gold in the women’s pairs and is a former world indoor singles titleholder.
The line-up will also feature two former winners; Thomas Greechan from Jersey, who captured the 2011 men’s title in Hong Kong; and young Malaysian superstar Emma Firyana Saroji, the 2015 women’s champion at Club Helensvale on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
The recently announced sections for this year’s championships are:
Men: Section 1: Pat Bird (Canada), Chadwick Chen (Hong Kong), Izzat Dzulkeple (Malaysia), Dean Elgar (New Zealand), Simon Green (England), Zvika Hadar (Israel), Vevai Kalimu (Papua New Guinea), David Kingdon (Wales), Arun Kumar (Fiji), Todd Priaulx (Guernsey), Tomas Leong (Singapore), Clive McGreal (Isle of Man), Cabous Olivier (Namibia), Uthen Ontong (Thailand), Andries van der Walt (Botswana).
Men: Section 2: Ozkan Akar (Turkey), Thomas Greechan (Jersey), Phil Jones (Norfolk Island), Barry Kane (Ireland), Kyriacos Kyriacou (Sth Africa), Bob Manson (Cyprus), Matthew Mercer (Zambia), Johnny Ng (Macao), Akira Okuda (Japan), Derek Oliver (Scotland), Jose Riveros (Argentina), Scott Roberts (USA), Dalton Tagelagi (Niue), Aaron Teys (Australia).
Women: Section 1: Rose Baso (Papua New Guinea), Tirelo Buckley (Botswana), Donna Fleming (Scotland), Yukie Kato (Japan), Donna Knight (England), Carla Krizanic (Australia), Yuk-Ping Lai (Macao), Sheryl Mar (Fiji), Bernice McGreal (Isle of Man), Nici Neal (Sth Africa), Mary Wright (Canada), Dorothy Yu (Hong Kong).
Women: Section 2: Patsorn Bryant (Thailand), Laura Daniels (Wales), Guurtje Copier (Netherlands), Selina Goddard (New Zealand), Petal Jones (Norfolk Island), Susan Kariuki (Kenya), May Lee (Singapore), Eddah Mpezeni (Zambia), Bernie O’Neill (Ireland), Joy Peyroux (Niue), Emma Firyana Saroji (Malaysia), Caryn Sinclair (Zimbabwe).
Photo: Past champions Thomas Greechan (Jersey) 2011 and Emma Firyana Saroji (Malaysia) 2015.