Advisory Group established to push for Olympic recognition

by Aidan Davis

Bowls Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Neil Dalrymple will chair a new Bowls in the Olympics Advisory Group (BOAG), established to support the sport’s bid for Olympic-recognition for able-body and para-sport disciplines.

The international advisory group will provide high-level advice and guidance to World Bowls’ Board with respect to achieving Olympic status, bringing together personnel from World Bowls, Member Nations, and independent authorities, in addition to subject-matter experts as required.

Membership will include:

• Bowls Australia CEO, Neil Dalrymple (Chair)

• World Bowls President, Darryl Clout

• World Bowls CEO, Gary Smith

• International Bowls for the Disabled President, Paul Brown

• Athlete Representative, Lynsey Clarke (Australia)

• Member Nation Representatives, Bowls Canada CEO, Anna Mees and Bowls New Zealand CEO, Mark Cameron

• Other suitably qualified delegates to be invited as and when required.

“The Olympics and Paralympics are justifiably seen as the pinnacle of sport and are undoubtedly events that many sports aspire to be included in and many athletes desire to compete in; positioning Bowls to have the best chance to be included in the 2032 Brisbane programme is the major purpose of this committee,” Dalrymple said.

“This committee will play a very important role in preparing a plan and a course of action for Bowls to be included in the Olympics and/or Paralympics in 2032, which is the ultimate end goal, but we know there is considerable work ahead in order for this outcome to be achieved.

“Personally, I thank World Bowls’ Board for the opportunity to chair this committee and I’m pleased that we have been able to assemble a suitable and diverse mix of experienced Bowls administrators from across the globe to progress this important project for the sport and all Bowls Member Nations.”

World Bowls commenced the process to gain recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in recent years, but identified significant obstacles that must be overcome, particularly relating to the amount of member nations and subsequent categorisation of sovereign states like the United Kingdom.

The panel will initially focus on the preparation of a plan that addresses all key issues and milestones that are required to enable Bowls to be recognised as an Olympic sport by the IOC and IPC, with the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games identified as the appropriate opportunity for inclusion.

As such, Australia will be well represented on the panel, with Dalrymple joined by NSW-based recently elected World Bowls President Darryl Clout contributing suitable experience, having been the Vice President of International Softball Federation, alongside South East Queensland-based Australian Jackaroo Lynsey Clarke as an athlete representative.

Scotland-based World Bowls CEO Gary Smith, England-based International Bowls for the Disabled President Paul Brown, Bowls Canada CEO Anna Mees and Bowls New Zealand CEO Mark Cameron round out the delegation entrusted with securing representation in sport’s showpiece event.