With the FA Cup third round now ongoing, along with the Australian Open and the Darts Masters, it may have been fair to assume these events might be at the forefront of focus for the sporting world. With the vast array of support these competitions seem to generate, this suggestion may have been re-emphasised. Yet, the World Indoor Bowls Championships recently occurred, and whilst its counterparts may be superiorly recognised, perhaps due to the larger funding available, the tournament may have signalled a poignant opportunity for bowls to advance its cause. Being broadcast on the BBC, a recognised and vastly viewed channel, may have contributed to this, and with the channel announcing an extension of the broadcast deal to 2021, the foundations for further support may be being laid. Therefore, the organisers, whilst being placed in a challenging position, seemed to relish this, and their overarching aim to enhance bowls’ exposure may be commencing.
The event itself may be a pivotal contributor in advancing both the players and the sport itself to the pinnacle. Therefore, consistently showcasing innovation, whilst also continuing to respect and maintain the core values of the tournament, may be increasingly important for this to be achieved. With this year’s edition marking the 20th anniversary of the event being contested on the Norfolk coast, a core hosting may have been established, and thus the groundwork may be available.
Englishman Mark Dawes won the Championship title for the first time, and whilst this may naturally be important in providing him with opportunities similar to previous victors, it may have more poignantly showcased how the tournament seems to raise motivation levels. Upon his performance in the previous edition, where he concluded his first round tie on the opposing end of the scoreline, he aimed to improve. This seemed to occur, and becoming champion may therefore showcase how the contest may entice all to play at their peak capabilities. Whilst the men’s singles event may claim the majority of the focus, perhaps due to being the concluding contest, the Championships seem to provide a wide array of opportunities for all to advance, including women. Katherine Rednall claimed her third title, emerging victorious in all her ties by winning every set. With the sport perhaps requiring a focal point and leader during it’s transitional phase to the pinnacle, Rednall’s victory may suggest she boasts the credentials to attain this role.
With a multitude of factors ultimately contributing to increased exposure for the event, it may enable an influx of fresh competitors to strive for a career in the game, as it may rapidly be becoming a more viable and credible career path. With funding schemes available for those aspiring to get into bowls, and with the BBC pledging to showcase it among the 1000 extra hours of sporting broadcasting, fresh athletes may be attained. Yet, the crowning glory of the event may be the pathway to the Commonwealth Games it provides. With the tournament scheduled for April, the Championships signal a major opportunity to showcase the required credentials to represent their respective nations. With Katherine Rednall’s victory enabling her to follow her father’s footsteps and represent England, the event may have an impact on a broader scale, contributing to a rise in the strength in depth for British sport.
As the Commonwealths rapidly approach, this period may be pivotal for those attaining a position in the squad, as they may be aiming to perform consistently in practice to be in top form. With two Englishmen contesting the men’s final, it may elevate the standings of British sport, especially considering the multitude of previous Scottish champions. As such, Britain may be held in good stead at the Commonwealths, in a period where the necessity for a rise in British performances may be intensifying due to other sporting results. Thus, bowls may have an increasingly important role in the sporting world, and with vast innovation occurring since it’s inception, where men were solely permitted to compete, cementing this meteoric rise may be pivotal for the entirety of the nation.
Why might the Championship contribute to people becoming involved in a wider range of sports?