Hong Kong—The Hong Kong International Bowls Classic officially kicked-off with the qualification matches for the singles last Saturday, August 4, when more than 200 local bowlers fought for the privilege to play against some of the finest bowlers in the world.
A total of 64 players from each gender will play in the main draw of the Classic singles competition on November 10-11 this year. The local bowling community was excited to have a chance to play against top bowlers from strong bowling nations such as Australian Natasha Scott, who won two gold medals in the triples and fours at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in April this year.
Other big names including another Commonwealth Games gold medalist Ian McClure from North Ireland; World U25 champion Ben Twist from Australia and World Bowls silver medalist Anwen Butten from Wales. The list will be expanding when more star players confirming their presence later this month.
A total of 145 male bowlers fought for the 32 places on offer and some of the surprise was that the reigning National Singles champion Tony Cheung was knocked out by OB Adem of Yuen Long Lawn Bowls Club, and the reigning U25 singles champion Jason Choi also lost to Stephen Yeung of Filipino Club. 2015 Classic Singles champion Jordi Lo is also out after suffering defeat at the hand of Kenneth So from Victoria Lawn Bowls Club.
There were not much surprise in the women section when 79 players competed for the 34 places. Most of the usual names came out unscratched, including the defending champion Vivian Yip. However Amy Choi, who won the Classic pairs with Yip in 2015 did not make it this time after losing to Josephine Lam of Hong Kong Football Club.
The Hong Kong International Bowls Classic will play at Craigengower Cricket Club, Hong Kong Football Club and Indian Recreation Club from November 10 to 18 this year.
Claudius Lam is an officer of the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association