Local athletes are busy preparing for the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth games, and Botswana has high hopes that athletics and boxing will bring glory to the country. However, it may just be the country’s lesser known sport, lawn bowling, that will come back home with silverware.
While it is a lesser known sport, lawn bowling is actually the first sports code to win a medal for Botswana at the 1986 commonwealth games, courtesy of Flora “Babs” Anderson. Lawn bowlers will this year be hoping to emulate or even surpass Anderson’s record.
Botswana Bowling Association (BBA) spokesperson Lebogang Mascarenhas says the bowling team will be going to Delhi to compete and not to participate. Mascarenhas’ enthusiasm is fuelled by the simple fact that the bowling team has been together for some time. They will also get good match practice as they will compete in the Africa States Championships in early August. Mascarenhas said the bowling team has won medals for Botswana on several occasions. As part of their preparations for the commonwealth games, the bowling team has roped in coaches from South Africa to fine tune the players. The coaches are expected in the country in September.
Mascarenhas said she is happy with the bowling team, saying she is confident that it will win some silverware at the common wealth games.
John Gaborutwe of the Selibi Phikwe Bowling Club said bowling is not very popular because it is wrongly perceived as a sport for old people, or even a white sport. He told Telegraph Sport that this has led to bowling being sidelined by the public and the media. Gaborutwe, who will be part of the teams going to both the African States tournament and the Commonwealth games, said lawn bowling is in fact a technical sport that requires dedication and concentration.
He said bowling also requires mental strength and discipline as a good game can last up to three hours.
Gaborutwe said they have been trying to lure young people to bowling, but their efforts are thwarted by the fact the sport is expensive. Apart from the expensive equipment, the sport requires specialized fields which are difficult to obtain and maintain.