South Coast bowls' world of opportunity

• Local bowling professionals Michael Wilks (right) and James Reynolds have plenty of international experience and are hoping to bring the world stage of bowling to our doorstep with a bid to host the 2020 World Bowls Championship.

• Local bowling professionals Michael Wilks (right) and James Reynolds have plenty of international experience and are hoping to bring the world stage of bowling to our doorstep with a bid to host the 2020 World Bowls Championship.

Club Sapphire Merimbula in conjunction with Club Bega, Tathra Beach Bowling Club and Tura Beach Country Club have lodged a bid to host the biggest event in international bowls, the 2020 World Bowls Champion-ships.

It took more than three months to complete the bid, which could see bowlers from in excess of 24 nations visiting the region to compete. 

The bid was spearheaded by Club Sapphire’s bowls development officer Michael Wilks with plenty of support from fellow professional James Reynolds and Club Sapphire CEO Damien Foley.

A comprehensive proposal was presented to Bowls Australia CEO Neil Dalrymple at the end of March. 

The Sapphire Coast’s bid is one of only a handful being considered by Bowls Australia. 

Dalrymple is scheduled to visit the region in the coming month to view the bidding club’s facilities and meet with the organising committee. 

Wilks, who competed for Australia at the 2004 World Bowls Championships at Ayr, Scotland, said “the bowls facilities along the Sapphire Coast offer unique opportunities for staging an event such as this”. 

“Besides the stunning natural beauty of clubs such as Tura Beach, the bowling facilities of our local clubs are among the best in Australia,” Wilks said. 

“They would provide an outstanding location for the World Championships to be conducted.”

World Bowls is regarded as the pinnacle of the sport, and is considered to be the Olympics of lawn bowls. 

With both the men’s and ladies championships being conducted simultaneously, the event will attract the world’s elite players.

Over 240 contestants will be vying for the ultimate prize of being crowned world champion.

With this event set to generate a welcome boost to the local tourism industry and provide the Sapphire Coast with international exposure, Member for Bega Andrew Constance has thrown his support behind the bid.

He said he was excited at the prospect of local clubs securing an event of this profile for the region. 

Mr Constance, who provided a letter of support to accompany the bid, said “I believe this region is equipped to promote and host one of the world’s greatest bowling events and am personally excited at the prospect of such an event being held in the Bega Valley on the Sapphire Coast”.

 “I offer my full support to the bid and wish the organising body every success with their application,” Mr Constance said. 

Wilks said the successful bid to be host venue for Australia will be announced by the end of June.

The decision will then be presented to the World Bowls board, who will announce the official host nation in late August. 

“If successful, the Sapphire Coast will enjoy an influx of visitors over an extended period,” Wilks said. 

“There would be a number of lead up events in the two years prior to the world titles, along with national training camps and major events being conducted in our region.”

The region will also benefit from the event through extensive and varied media exposure with the event likely to be broadcast internationally to a number of participating nations.

“It is anticipated, that 240 competitors, 100 officials and several thousand spectators will converge on our area for the month-long contest to decide the most prestigious prize in the world of bowls,” Wilks said. 

“The opportunity would provide a spectators with a chance to see the world’s best playing up close and a once in a lifetime opportunity to promote the Sapphire Coast for the thousands of spectators around the globe.” 

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