Commonwealth: Top 5 fun facts about lawn bowling as Kenya targets glory
The Birmingham Commonwealth games are up and running for team Kenya more so its interesting squad of lawn bowlers.
Represented by 4 Kenyans, the talented squad led by team manager Mumo Musembi is aiming high this time, apparently towards qualifying for the knockout stages.
But before we dwell on the amazing team, let's dive into interesting facts about the sport itself.
Lawn bowling originated from Egypt
Many avid enthusiasts and historians of the centuries old game believe it was first played in ancient Egypt.
For the ancient Egyptians, one of their favorite pastimes was to play skittles with round stones that have quite distinct figure to the modern day lawn bowling balls. Artefacts of this game were found in tombs dating 5,000 B.C.
First recorded game was in Australia
The first complete game to be tallied and recorded was in Australia way back in 1845.
At a place known as the Beach Tavern at Sandy Bay in Tasmania, The Hobart Town Courier and Van Diemen’s Land Gazette reported the first game.
The blind can also play lawn bowls
Not all games can be accommodated to our physically challenged sportswomen and men but for lawn bowling, anything is practically possible.
Modified version of bowls can be played by people who are blind, and many blind bowlers are extremely skilful. A string is run out down the centre of the lane and wherever the jack lands it is moved across to the string and the length is called out by a sighted marker.
When the bowls are rolled, their distance from and position in relation to the jack is also called out. This allows the bowler to adjust their aim and the force of their throw.
Disability lawn bowls events were also introduced in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.
Lawn bowling is for all ages
As misunderstood before, lawn bowling isn't for senior athletes but also youthful competition can be experienced from younger players.
The youngest player to play lawn bowls at the Commonwealth Games was Jamie-Lea Winch (England) aged 19.
Lawn bowls can last for years
Lawn bowls, if cared for correctly, can last a staggering 20-30 years – if not longer. Subsequently the lawn bowls can be put through a process called “stamping”, which is a series of tests and repairs just to preserve it more efficiently. You can see when a bowl was last “stamped” by looking at the markings on the bowl.
With this interesting insight, Cephas Kimwaki and Eunice Mbugua are among the selected players who are prime and ready for the competition. For lawn bowling, Kenyans have been competing since 1998 and a recent win over South Africa has made their dreams more valid.