After playing an important and irreplaceable role in China’s reform and improving liberalisation over the past 30 years, Hong Kong found another area that the Mainland needs their help on – the development of lawn bowls.
Over the years Hong Kong has been helping the development of bowls in the mainland, but the progress has been slow – largely due to a lack of greens and interest from the authorities.
In fact, a vast majority of the China National team members are from Hong Kong, which is kind of unthinkable in any other sport.
In the World Bowls Championship that finished last month, only three Chinese team members are China-based. And the results were far from good with the women finishing a lowly second from the bottom of all of the 24 participating countries. Meanwhile, China’s men’s team fared somewhat better by finishing 12th out of 24 countries, but still short of the standards expected by the country that boasts an estimated 1.4 billion people.
A group of Hong Kong bowlers realised the problems and, after repeated persuasive discussions, convinced the China authority to put more effort into rectifying the situation. As a result the Chinese Multi-Bowls Association (CMBA) organised the first-ever lawn bowls training class in China right before Christmas.
A dozen Hong Kong coaches were invited to Shenzhen Beijiashan Park to conduct three days of training, which also included an introductory session on bowls umpiring. With boules, bocce and lawn bowls all under the management of CMBA, a good turn-out was expected.
And the Hong Kong coaches weren’t disappointed. CMBA managed to recruit more than 40 participants from sports bureaus, educational institutions and commercial organisations from various Chinese provinces to join the training.
Upon return from the mainland, Claudius Lam from the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association (HKLBA) discussed the training program’s outcomes with The Epoch Times.
“Some of the students are from boules and bocce and they performed really well during the training, probably because of the similarity between these sports,” said Lam, who is the Coaching Director at the HKLBA and heads up a panel that deals with any coaching matters.
As the coach’s coach, Lam was the ideal person to introduce bowls to world boules champion Guo Xiaomin and Wang Mei during the training sessions. Lam believes they represent the future of lawn bowls in China.
“Both mentally and physically they possess the stability required for the sport. They are as good as those representing China now, if not better.
“What they need is more training on the technical and tactical side of the game.
“It seems that they are enjoying enormous success in the sports they have been doing, so I don’t know whether they will shift to lawn bowls or not. But no matter what, this is a good start to getting improved lawn bowls awareness in the mainland’s sport scene,” Lam concluded.
After the training all participants immediately joined bowlers from Guangzhou, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Hong Kong and Macao to compete in the 2012 National Provincial Cities, Hong Kong & Macau Lawn Bowls Championship.
The tournament consisted of 28 teams and after a tense competition, the trophy was won by Hong Kong’s Lawn Bowls Training Centre, with the runners-up being Tuen Mun Sports Association.
Zhejiang Industry & Trade Vocational College, the team Guo and Wang represents, finished at a reputable fifth.
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