WORLD Bowls, the global governing authority of lawn bowls, has taken the decision to rebrand its world junior championships as the ‘World Youth Championships’.

‘Times have changed,’ said president John Bell in announcing the decision. ‘At Broadbeach in April there were three mothers and two husbands in the field. All of the competitors were eligible to vote in their own country, were licensed drivers and of legal drinking age. These are adults, not juniors.

‘This was an obvious decision and we’re sure it will stimulate the event’s image and commercial possibilities.’

Since the junior championships were first conducted in 2005, the age criteria has been 18-25, with players not to have reached 26 on the championship’s first day.

However, in most countries, and with no disrespect intended, ‘junior’ conjures up visions of children who offer very little in marketing opportunities for prospective corporate partners or naming sponsors, as the demographic has limited spending power or financial stability.

In contrast, ‘youth’ suggests dynamic, mature, independent thinking young folk – a prime target market for purveyors of motor vehicles, IT devices, brand name clothing and jeans etc, holidays and travel destinations, boutique liquor etc. The scope is endless.

Next year’s 2017 World Youth Championships, featuring men’s and women’s singles along with mixed pairs, will be conducted at the Broadbeach Bowls Club on Australia’s Gold Coast between 27 March and 2 April.

Photo: Australians Ellen Ryan and Aaron Wilson, the recently crowned 2016 world junior singles champions.