A special group of bowlers will descend on the Burnside Bowling Club next week when the New Zealand Blind Lawn Bowling Association National Championships will be played. Singles will be played on the Monday and Tuesday, followed by pairs on the Wednesday and Thursday. This is the first time the event will be held in Christchurch.
There are four divisions – B1, B2, B3 and B4. The B1 is the totally blind division. Players in the B2 category can see very little and nothing clearly. They can usually only see light changes within a couple of feet range. B3 players can move about with a degree of independence but cannot see with any clarity upon the green. They can often see up the green to about two thirds of the distance to the jack but cannot see any details of bowls on the head.
The B4 division is for players mostly affected by tunnel vision. It is like looking through two straws and being able to see in a straight line but having very limited peripheral vision (less than 20%). Players will play against others with their own level of visual impairment. There are small numbers entered for the event however it must be remembered that the qualifying criteria is a tested level of visual impairment. Those player competing are courageous in taking on the challenge of competing along with their personal challenges of their sight impairment.
Results will be updated regularly throughout the event and can found on the Burnside Bowling Club website at www.burnsidebowlingclub.com. Visit the section in the left column entitled National Blind. Information about the event is now available at that site.