2019 Australian Open set for record-breaking numbers

by Domenic Favata

This year’s instalment of Bowls Australia’s showpiece event, the Australian Open, will see a record number of competitors descend upon the Gold Coast from June 1 for the world’s biggest and richest open bowls event.

In its 15th edition, more than 2,600 entrants from all corners of Australia and the world will compete in 2019, eclipsing the previous best total of 2,481 set in 2017, while a record number of international competitors will also take part, with over 300 players journeying from overseas.

Bowlers from the likes of England, Scotland, United States, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Philippines and India will feature in this year’s 14-day event, the fifth consecutive to be staged on the Gold Coast, with many nations utilising the event as a tune-up for the 2019 Asia Pacific Championships, to be held shortly after the Australian Open again on the Gold Coast.

Staged across 13 host venues with finals culminating at the Broadbeach Bowls Club, the official host venue of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the Australian Open carries a grand prize purse of more than $250,000 over 14 disciplines.

The transition of the Australian Open to the Gold Coast has been seen as a significant pillar in the development of this marquee-calibre event and the positioning of South East Queensland as the natural hub of bowls in Australia.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the record participation numbers demonstrate the popularity of the Gold Coast as an event host city.

“One year on from the historic Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, the legacy of Australia’s largest sporting event this decade continues to position the coast as a powerhouse sporting destination,” Ms Jones said.

“Record participation numbers for the event further highlights the Gold Coast’s world-class event hosting capabilities and the city’s position as the natural hub of lawn bowls in Australia.

“Tourism is a vital industry for the region, injecting close to $5 billion into the economy and supporting over 41,000 local jobs.”

Bowls Australia CEO Neil Dalrymple said the Australian Open’s growth was evident and thanked Tourism and Events Queensland, City of Gold Coast and the host clubs for their support.

“The Australian Open has established itself as the sport’s premier open bowls event, catering for nationals and internationals of all ages and abilities through the 14 disciplines contested, and is the sport’s most lucrative open competition, distributing more than $1.2 million in prize money during its five years on the Gold Coast,” he said.

“Each year, the Australian Open showcases the exceptional calibre of the Gold Coast’s clubs to the world, and it’s pleasing to see more and more people experience the idyllic destination each year through the growth of this event.

“We appreciate the support of all host clubs and their workforce of volunteers. The growing success of this event is a testament to their tireless efforts in contributing to the running of this event.

“On behalf of Bowls Australia and the thousands of bowlers who experience the Australian Open each year, I wish to convey our thanks to the event’s Principle Partners, Tourism and Events Queensland the City of Gold Coast, for their ongoing support of this beloved competition.”

The 2019 Australian Open will again feature broadcast coverage through Bowls Australia’s free-to-air partner SBS and pay-tv Fox Sports, with a live telecast on June 13 and 14 of the men’s and women’s singles and pairs finals from 11.30am each day.

australianopen.bowlsaustralia.com.au/