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Blind Bowlers Defending Titles At World Champs

Blind Bowlers Defending Titles At World Champs In Scotland

Kiwi blind and sight-impaired lawn bowlers are off to defend their titles at the International Blind Bowling Association's Seventh World Championships in Scotland August 6 - 17.

The Kiwi team is off at the end of July taking five players from the '97 Champs, two new caps, six coach-directors and the NZBLBA President to defend their third place world ranking.

"The team have worked extremely hard fundraising for this trip. They're really looking forward to going as many have not been to Scotland before," says Doreen Holmes, NZBLBA Inc. President.

"We hope that we handle the conditions well and bring back another world title."

The Championship covers nine events - Men's singles, ladies singles and Mixed Pairs in each of the B1, B2 and B3 classifications. B1 - totally blind, B2 - poor partial sight and B3 - slightly better partial sight.

The only thing that differentiates this competition from sighted championships is the presence of the coach-director on the green.

"The coach-director act as the eyes of the player. They orientate them and give the correct green line and distance of the jack from the mat," says Mrs Holmes.

"Once the player has delivered the bowl, the coach-director replays the finishing position on a clock system (one o'clock, six o'clock etc). This allows the bowler to imagine the position and decide further shots to be played."

It has taken the team 16 months to fundraise the $100,000 needed for the trip to Scotland.

"We would like to thank everyone who has given their time and money so generously," says Mrs Holmes.

"Especially the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind, Bowls New Zealand and Paralympics NZ who each kindly donated $5,000.

"We are also very grateful to Hensalite who are providing bowls for our players to use while in Scotland."

-ends-

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