Four young and very promising lawn bowls players have been selected to compete in an Under 20s tourney, to be hosted by Bowls South Africa in Bloemfontein, from 25 to 29 of this month.
The quartet are Ronan Olivier (skip), JP Fouche (third), AJ Visser (second) and Ané Olivier (lead). JP and Ané are from Eros Bowling Club in Windhoek, while Ronan and AJ are members of Namib Park Bowling Club in Walvis Bay.
Ronan’s brother Cabous has represented Namibia in the past and will do so again when the national team travels to Cardiff, Wales, to participate in the Atlantic Championships in May this year.
Lesley Vermeulen, who has played for Namibia on numerous occasions, accompanies the under 20’s as team manager.
The youngest player in the squad, Ané Olivier, 12, has been playing for a year now and says she likes to stay active and does karate also for which she was awarded national colours in 2017. JP Fouche, who incidentally is also Ané’s coach, is the oldest player in the team at the age of 17.
He has been playing bowls for five years and is a fully qualified coach. He states that bowls is very sociable, fun, addictive as well as competitive and requires significant concentration.
Ronan Olivier, who is 14 and has been playing for about four years, was in the winning under 20 side representing he Free State at the same tourney last year. AJ Visser is 16 years old andl attends high school in Walvis Bay. He has been playing bowls for three years.
The tourney has attracted a total of 34 teams – 33 from provinces all over South Africa and one team from Namibia.
Teams are divided into six sections. The tourney will be played in a league format within sections with the six top finishers from each group and the the two runner-ups in their section accumulating the highest scores advancing to the quarterfinals.
The winning four teams will play each other in the semi-finals before contesting the final with both losing semi-finalists vying for the bronze medal.
When asked how they felt about representing their native land, Ané commented: “I can’t wait to take part in my first international game and can’t wait to meet the other teams as well. It’s my first time going to Bloemfontein.” JP remarked that he felt truly honoured to represent his country,
“This is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase our talents against tough opponents and [to show] just how lawn bowls as a sport is changing [because of all the young people now playing].”