LAST year a pathway for lawn bowls to achieve official International Olympic Committee (IOC) Recognition arose when our number of participating member nations was formalised to be in excess of fifty – a minimum requisite criteria.

And although there is more work to be done, a meeting last week in Lausanne, Switzerland at IOC headquarters, between senior officials and the world leadership of lawn bowls, saw a hearty welcome, and much positive and respectful reaction to the quality of World Bowls’ application. This was also fortified by a mutual agreement to work together in the spirit of open-armed encouragement and support.

Leading the World Bowls executive delegation was president John Bell and chief executive Gary Smith, who, as part of the recently lodged ‘Lawn Bowls application for IOC Recognition’ bid, met with Mike Joyce, IOC Coordination des Sports manager; and two representatives from SportsAccord, Philippe Gueisbuhler, head of Administration and Convention; and Michel Filliau, senior advisor to the President in charge of Membership Relations.

‘I’m delighted with the excellent work done to date, along with the meeting in Lausanne,’ president John Bell said on return. ‘The meeting was extremely positive and has given us clear guidelines on how to progress our application. It will hopefully set us on course for achieving our sport’s ‘Olympic Dream.’

Mr Bell added the meeting clearly demonstrated the IOC has undoubted respect for both our sport and our bid for official recognition; saw many positives in our assessment; and is impressed by the globalisation of lawn bowls, its popularity, its values and its good governance.

It was acknowledged that the future development of lawn bowls at all levels is inextricably linked to IOC Recognition.

In keeping with the recommendations outlined at our meeting, World Bowls will now pursue membership of the SportAccord International Federations’ Union. SportAccord is the umbrella organisation for all (Olympic and non-Olympic) international sports federations as well as organisers of multi-sports games and sport-related international associations.

The lawn bowls application will be submitted to SportAccord’s General Meeting in April 2018; and if successful, the World Bowls bid for IOC Recognition will be resubmitted to the IOC to be considered by one of the IOC Executive Board meetings later that year.