Blind bowlers’ medal am­bi­tion

Hamilton Press - - OUT & ABOUT - KEL­LEY TAN­TAU

Hamil­ton will host the ‘‘ul­ti­mate’’ blind bowl­ing com­pe­ti­tion this Labour long week­end and the city has a savvy team ready to rep­re­sent.

Six bowlers from the Hamil­ton Blind and Vi­sion Im­paired In­door Bowl­ing Club haven’t been train­ing ev­ery Tues­day for noth­ing. They want to taste vic­tory.

Christine Foster said the com­pet­ing team in­cludes two to­tally blind bowlers. The oth­ers have vary­ing de­grees of sight.

‘‘Some peo­ple think if they lose their sight, it’s the end all,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s not.’’

Bowls, she said, is the ideal sport for peo­ple with par­tial or no sight.

The rules of the game for sighted and blind are the same. How­ever, ev­ery blind bowler has their own guide who as­sists them.

Guides help with dis­tance, an­gle and the po­si­tion of all bowls, us­ing the face of a clock as an in­di­ca­tion of space.

Foster first played in­door bowls be­fore mov­ing to out­door. She has been a guide for 13 years.

‘‘One of the best things for me is see­ing the en­joy­ment the bowlers get out of the sport,’’ she said. ‘‘As well as com­ing home with the tro­phies.’’

The Hamil­ton na­tion­als will host seven other clubs, in­clud­ing some from Can­ter­bury, Otago, Taranaki and Hast­ings.

In to­tal, there will be around 55 play­ers com­pet­ing.

The Hamil­ton team gar­nered good re­sults at past events.

Last year, they won the to­tally blind sin­gles ladies tro­phy, among oth­ers.

Foster said com­pet­ing against other teams was more of a friendly ri­valry, but na­tion­als was the ‘‘ul­ti­mate’’ com­pe­ti­tion and to bring home any medals would be the ic­ing on the cake.

Club pres­i­dent Diane Ju­lian also has the com­pet­i­tive spirit. When asked her favourite thing about the sport, she said, ‘‘win­ning, nat­u­rally’’.

‘‘And the com­pany. It’s re­ally great to be with peo­ple who have the same kind of prob­lems as you.’’

Ju­lian is par­tially sighted. She be­gan los­ing her sight in 1988. She took up in­door bowl­ing in 1991.

Hamil­ton’s Blind and Vi­sion Im­paired In­door Bowlers will com­pete at Beerescourt Bowl­ing Club, Maeroa Rd, on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 21.

The fol­low­ing two days will see them play­ing at the Waikato In­door Bowl­ing Cen­tre on Dun­can Rd. The event is open to the pub­lic.

Hamil­ton blind and vi­sion im­paired in­door bowl­ing club pres­i­dent Diane Ju­lian.

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