Bowls Australia has partnered with Invictus Australia (formerly Veteran Sport Australia) to create opportunities for defence force personnel, veterans and their families to get involved in bowls across the country.
The partnership’s first on-the-ground initiative launched in 2020 in NSW’s Hunter region with a Veterans Family Day.
BA CEO Neil Dalrymple said he is excited by the chance to encourage veterans and their families into the sport.
“The Australian Defence Force has a great history with bowls and current and former serving veterans make a big contribution to our sport every week right around Australia,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to working with Veteran Sport Australia can absolutely see huge potential to grow our community.”
Former Australian Jackaroos national coach Steve Glasson OAM currently serves as the Australian Defence Force’s Honorary Bowls Patron.
He said that bowls is the perfect medicine for veterans, their families and support crews and that engaging with the sport can provide rewarding health benefits – by getting active and improving lifestyles through participation.
“It would be amazing to promote bowls and increase participation for our veterans,” he said.
“Bowls is unique in that people of all walks of life and disability can participate – I can’t think of any limitations to preclude participation. Bowls can also be very social and there’s nothing better than social therapy.”
Invictus Australia CEO Michael Hartung said the partnership is ‘a match made in heaven’.
“We know how popular bowls is throughout the veteran community and we see a big opportunity to introduce more and more veterans and their families to the sport,” he said.
“We’re particularly excited about the potential to work with the extensive network of bowling clubs around country Australia.
“Most of the bowling clubs are based in the regions and there’s no better way to bring a community together than a friendly bowls competition.”
With many members of the RSL across the country also active and highly valued members of the Australian bowls community, RSL National Lawn Bowls Council President Jack Abernethy said he hopes to see more active and retired ADF members to get involved with bowls.
“The camaraderie when you are bowling at the RSL is exceptional. We all have a common background and because of that we relate so much better. It’s one of the reasons why we play together,” he said.