Bowls New Zealand Summerset Awards 2020 Para Athlete of the Year


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Lynda Bennett set new standards of excellence over the past year and has been honoured with a fitting accolade, crowned the Summerset Bowls New Zealand 2020 Para-Sport bowler of the year.


It’s just reward for Bennett, who enjoyed a wonderful season on the green.
The Waikato bowler won the national disabled singles title, and then backed it up by skipping her disabled triples team to victory.


Adding to those achievements, Bennett was also third equal in the disabled pairs category of the New Zealand Open.


Bennett also showed her ability against able-bodied rivals, part of winning teams in the Te Awamutu Ladies Pairs and Mixed Fours competitions, along with a third place in the Ladies Triples.


“Lynda was probably unlucky not to win this award last year but the way she dominated at the nationals, she was a sure winner this time round,” says Bowls New Zealand high performance manager Kaushik Patel.


“Unfortunately there weren’t any international events she could showcase her skills due to circumstances.”


Patel added that Bennett performed admirably as part of the Para team in the Bowls3Five, though she wasn’t available for all fixtures.


Bennett’s recipe for success is multi-faceted, with an unrelenting commitment to continuous improvement.


Coach Rex McGill says she has embraced the concept of “purposeful planned training”. He explains that Bennett has a focus on process over outcome and has developed breathing techniques and other mindfulness tools to help with the mental side of the sport.


And she doesn’t cut any corners with physical preparation, with Pilates and core sessions twice a week and well as regular swims to help with cardio.
“It’s impressive the way she looks after herself,” says Patel. “You look at the modern bowler and you talk about going the distance….she is super fit and really looks after herself.”


“She is committed to it and as a one armed bowler, her conditioning has to be spot on, to get the balance and the strength needed to compete.”
Her coach McGill adds that for someone so experienced – Bennett was part of team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games – she also sets the right example on the green.


“[She has an] impeccable standard of sportsmanship and fair play,” says McGill, who adds that Bennett is always trying to encourage other disabled bowlers to play.”


Bennett also isn’t one to put limits on what is possible.


“Her philosophy is defined by what she can do, and not by what she can’t do,” says McGill.  “She regards failure as the result of not trying sufficiently. [She] constantly plans [so she can] realise her maximum potential.”


Graham Skellern and Steve Delaney were the other finalists in the category.

Congratulations to all finalists in the Bowls New Zealand Summerset Annual awards.