Desiree Levin, a gold medallist in the S A National Championships for bowlers with a disability and a member of Lombardy East Bowling Club, has excelled at a lawn bowls event for bowlers with a physical or visual disability held in George.
Lawn bowlers came from central Gauteng, Gauteng North, Boland, Free State, Eden District, KwaZulu-Natal, Northwest Platinum, Peninsular in the Western Province, and Ekurhuleni in Gauteng.
There was also a visiting team from as far afield as Israel in the tournament which saw 44 physically disabled and 47 visually impaired bowlers, including 47 directors competing.
“The standard of bowls at this national event was one of the highest ever seen and included selected Proteas of the last two Commonwealth Games and the World Championships who also competed and achieved international medal status.
“Although the players may be disabled, their spirit was not dampened in the least. It is not a stigma to have a disability. Our disabilities do not own us. We, in fact, own them as we overcome them in psychological, emotional and physical ways.
“We are very privileged to have organisations such as the Physically Disabled Bowlers South Africa and Visually Impaired Bowlers South Africa as part of the body of the International Bowlers with a Disability,” said Levin.
All disabled bowlers belong to and play in able-bodied clubs and competitions and are not in anyway restricted to an arena of disability only. The disability arena opens up an additional dimension for participation and competition, as seen in the Commonwealth Games and World Championships.
Lawn bowls is an incredible non-contact sport in which to participate socially, competitively and for corporate events. It is a game of skill, strategy, concentration, co-operation, tactics and stamina. At fun levels, it can help with team building and interaction. It is a game of perseverance and constant adjustment to situations as they arise, Levin said.
She added that lawn bowls were among a handful of outdoor sports in which disabled persons can participate both socially and competitively. The visually impaired are classed from total blindness to partially sighted with degrees of sight.
The physically disabled comprise amputees in wheelchairs, who are commonly referred to as ‘wheelies’ while people on crutches are commonly referred to as
‘wobblies’ as well as people with cerebral palsy, polio victims, physical deformities, spinal injuries, neurological dysfunction and other grades of disability were strength and balance (two main requirements for lawn bowls) are affected.
Any youth movements that would like to get involved in lawn bowls or disability bowls as a community project can contact Desiree Levin on 072 371 5204.