24th July – 1st August.
It is 12 years since the Manchester, Commonwealth Games, the last time the games included an event for bowlers with disabilities.
Scotland must be congratulated for including the event in the programme. Scottish Disability Sport and Commonwealth member nations of IBD, I am sure did a lot to lobby for inclusion.
There are to be two events, a Mixed Pairs B2/B3 visually impaired and B6/7/8 Open Triples for bowlers with a physical disability.
England’s team preparations are now underway, all be it very late in comparison to the Manchester Games. Back in 2002, Sport England awarded funding 2 years prior to the games giving plenty of time for preparation. This time around the money, much reduced, has only recently been released leaving very little time for outdoor training and preparation.
Bowls England appointed John Bell, Performance Director for Team England.
As I had worked on the Manchester games with both the team and also as technical officer for the disability event, I was asked to coordinate the disabled squad. Mo Monkton was also appointed to work with me. Mo is a selector for the England Under 25’s women’s team. This is Mo’s first real involvement in disability bowls, but she is very committed and enjoying the experience. She is a great asset to the squad.
Each member organisation of DBE was asked to put forward names for trials for selection for the squad. We held assessment days in Nottingham, Leamington and Solihull. The Mixed Pairs and their directors were selected and the B6/7/8 triples were reduced to a squad of 5.
The selected mixed pairs team and their directors are;
Doreen Flanders B3 from Surrey and Steve Simmons B3 from London.
Directors , Moira Sheehan and Kelvin Horriben from Nottingham.
Reserves – Nancy Cheeseman, Geoff Wherry, Jeff Smith
The Triples squad are;
Cate Ball – Wiltshire, David Fisher – Essex, Paul Brown – Avon, Bob Love – West Mids, Andy Strain – Warwickshire.
Reserves – Mac Otton and Gill Platt.
The whole team, disabled and non-disabled players and staff will be attending physiology and sports psychology workshops on several occasions in order to prepare them for the competition ahead and give them the best possible chance of success.
In May they will compete in test matches at the games venue, Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow as part of the preparation and again in July just prior to the games.
Although the time has been short, the bowlers get on well together and the spirit within the squad is good and positive. I know that they will give the task in hand ‘their all’.