India hope to win maiden Lawn Bowls medal at CWG

Last Updated: Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 13:21

New Delhi: Short of experience but not
lacking in confidence after some good performances in recent
international events, Indian Lawn Bowls players are aiming to
win a Commonwealth Games medal in their very first appearance
in the multi-sporting event here next month.

The competition will be tough with the Australians and
the Malaysians favourites to win most of the medals but given
the current form of Indian players and favourable surface, the
16-member squad would look to exploit the home advantage to
open their medal account in the Games.

The Indian team which officially came into existence less
than three years ago have come a long way since then, winning
the Asian Lawn Bowls Championship in Shenzen, China in 2009
besides coming up with a commendable performance in the
Asia-Pacific Championship, also last year.

The team under the guidance of Australian coach Richard
Gale finished fourth in Ladies Triple event at the
eight-nation meet in the capital this year in April.

Teenagers Tania Chowdhury and Farzana Khan, among the
eight women in the squad, are India`s best medal hopes in the
triples and individual categories respectively.

While Tania won a silver in the Asia-Pacific Championship
in August last year in Kuala Lumpur and finished fourth in
Ladies triple section at the eight-nation event in April,
Farzana came up with some good performance in the individual
category in the eight-nation championship, narrowly losing her
semi-final playoff to Malaysia`s world number four Siti Ahmad.

Coach Gale, who has been working closely with the Indian
team over the past 18 months, said the team has developed the
required skills and confidence to make an impact in front of
the home crowd.

"Team is training hard to bring India its first medal in
the Commonwealth Games. We know we are short of experience
given the likes of the Australians, New Zealanders and
Malaysians but we are confident of performing well," he told
reporters.

"Couple of exposure trips have also helped a team a lot
in the recent times. We won the championship in Shenzen and
also came up with a commendable show in the Asia-Pacific
championship. We are ready to compete against a top-class
field.”

"The food supplements, weather conditions and the surface
will surely work to our confidence. Our women`s team is
stronger than the men`s team and overall we are hoping to win
2-3 medals," Gale said, exuding confidence.

Lawn Bowling Federation of India president Sunaina Kumari
said that the entire squad has come a long way in these three
years in terms of performance and experience and it`s time to
take on some of the best teams in the world.

"There are three events each for men and women --
singles, doubles and triples -- in the Commonwealth Games. A
total of 18 medals will be up for grabs, nine each for men and
women. So we are expecting three medals, one each in men`s
pairs, women`s triple and women`s singles," Kumari said.

"At least we expect a podium finish by the girls as men`s
event offers some strong competition given the likes of the
Aussies, the Kiwis and the Britons. Ranchi boy Sunil Kumar is
a medal hope in men`s pairs," she said.

The Indian squad will participate in the women`s singles,
women`s pairs, women`s triple, men`s singles, men`s pairs and
men`s triples events.

Before moving here in March, they trained in Guwahati,
putting in long hours on the pitch to understand the nuances
of the game and improve their style of play.

Gale said the facilities provided by the organisers at
the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium complex, the venue for the event,
have helped to the players.

"This synthetic surface is great. It`s a superior turf
with no problem. The competition arena at the JLN stadium is
as good as any in the world," the Australian said.

Lawn Bowls has been in all Commonwealth Games except
in Kingston in 1966. It will have six events to be played on
Synthetic Green turfs that have been built specially for the
event. The surface has been highly rated by international
experts.

There are three basic bowling techniques -- the aimed
ball along the ground, the high arc and the power shot. Points
are scored by rolling the ball as close as possible to a
smaller ball called the `Jack`.

The professional format is a best of three sets, with
none ends in each set. A set is awarded to the player/team
with the maximum scoring shots at the end of the 9 ends. In
case of a tie at the end of the sets, a three-end tie-breaker
is played to decide the winner.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 13:21

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