THE COUNTDOWN is underway to Leamington playing its part in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The greens at the town’s Victoria Park will play host to the bowls and para bowls competitions as part of the games coming to Birmingham.
Warwick District Council is already putting plans in place for the events, and local athletes who competed at the Gold Coast games in Australia recently joined former medallists and representatives from Bowls England, Disability Bowls England, and Visually Impaired Bowls England at the Women’s Junior International Bowls Championships at Victoria Park.
Local Gold Coast medallists, Sarah-Jane Perry (silver squash) and Kelly Sibley (team bronze table-tennis) have also been named as Warwick district sports ambassadors.
Spectators and competitors at the event also got the opportunity to meet the council’s recently appointed Commonwealth Games officer Christina Boxer, who won 1500 metres gold at the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games and silver at the 1990 Auckland game, together with Bowls England chief executive Tony Allcock, 15-time World Bowls champion who won a silver medal at the 1994 Victoria games; and Para Bowls medallists and competitors Paul Brown (bronze Glasgow 2014), Kieran Rollings (the youngest 2018 Team England Bowls member) and Katherine Rednall (bronze Gold Coast 2018). Former visually impaired national champion Georgina Dark also attended.
Kenilworth resident Ms Perry said: “It’s so exciting that the 2022 Commonwealth Games is happening so locally and that Warwick district will get to host some of the action.
“I’m really looking forward to the build-up but more than anything I can’t wait for the opportunity to compete in a home games and hopefully win another medal. I’m delighted to become an ambassador for Warwick district in such an exciting time – hopefully I can help ensure the legacy from the games is as great as possible.’
Leamington resident Ms Sibley was equally excited at the town’s participation.
She said: “To have the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham is exciting for everyone, and for Leamington to have been chosen as one of the places to host one of the sports in such a huge event is fantastic. I am so delighted and proud to become a Warwick district sports ambassador to act as a role model and to encourage others at this exciting time.”
Mr Allcock, who also lives in Leamington, was looking forward to more world class bowls competition in the town.
He said: “Victoria Park is an iconic venue for the sport of lawn bowls across the globe, having hosted the Women’s World Championships twice together with national and international events for more than 40 years.
“However, the Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle of our sport, and as such we are determined to support our partners to ensure a successful bowls event in 2022 and to use the associated publicity to encourage the next generation of participants into our sport.”
Council culture spokesman Michael Coker said the games presented an opportunity.
He added: “This is the start of an exciting four year journey, and over the coming months and years there will be a host of opportunities for local people to get involved.”