Equal opportunity for all in bowls

A player on crutches carefully watches his delivery.

The Accumulo Rainbow Five Bowls Tournament held last weekend gave disabled bowlers the opportunity to compete against each other and regular bowlers.

The tournament was held on September 2 and 3 at the Bedfordview Country Club and also marked the end of the Accumulo Bowls Challenge.

The Rainbow Fives Tournament was won by Bag Okuxubile (mixed bag), skipped by Esme Kruger.

Second place went to Jack of All Trades, skipped by Basil Wilcox.

A player measures out the distances between two lawn bowls and the jack.

Ouch and Eina took third place, skipped by Wilson Malobolo.

Teams from around South Africa, as well as some from Zimbabwe and Scotland, took part in the tournament.

Each team played seven games of ten ends.

Philip Neville, organiser of the Accumulo Bowls Challenge said everyone can play together on the same field at the rainbow tournament.

He said by hosting these tournaments, he hopes to break down stereotypes around bowls.

“Many people believe that bowls is only for old men. Through tournaments like this, that stereotype is changing,” explained Neville.

Amongst the 120 bowlers in the tournament, some of the individuals were visually impaired, had prosthetics, were wheelchair bound or were on crutches.

Philip Neville, organiser of the Accumulo Bowls Challenge.

Despite this they never let their disabilities stop them and they gave it their all.

“As long as people are able to play the sport, they are welcome to join us,” added Neville

Desiree Levin, one of the organisers and a participant of the tournament said the rainbow tournament is the only sports tournament of its kind.

“Bowls is the only sport where you can have visually impaired competitors play against sighted competitors,” she explained.

The tournament, which has been running for four years, began when Levin met Neville at a tournament.

“Neville liked the idea and at the first tournament we raised R12 000 for disabled individuals. This year we raised R120 000,” said an excited Levin.

She added that the challenge as a whole is a “wonderful initiative” which has developed from a corporate event into a community development project.

Eddie van der Heiden, convenor of Disability Bowls SA, thanked Accumulo for organising a weekend featuring top quality bowls.

“On behalf of the disabled bowlers, I would also like to thank Philip for his extreme generosity and consider him in the highest esteem,” said van der Heiden.

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The annual Accumulo Bowls Festival took place at Bedfordview Bowling Club.

A bowler carefully takes aim, preparing for a delivery.


Stephan Lehman

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