2020 World Champs to continue Gold Coast’s sporting legacy
Queensland’s Gold Coast will continue to be an international sporting mecca long after the dust has settled on the 2018 Commonwealth Games, with the region’s tourism bodies and bowls’ governing bodies today inking a deal to host the 2020 World Bowls Championships.
The popular holiday destination was already the envy of the bowling world, after securing the rights to the $225,000 Australian Open annually from 2015 until 2019 and the prestigious World Champion of Champions later this year, but has further bolstered its credentials by acquiring the sport’s blue-chip tournament.
An agreement with Tourism and Events Queensland and the City of Gold Coast, World Bowls and Bowls Australia confirmed the event would be held in the state of Queensland for the first time since the event’s inception in 1966.
Staged every four years, alternating with the Commonwealth Games, the World Bowls Championships will feature teams of five men and five women from the top-24 ranked nations across the globe in each discipline for 16 days of high class action from May 23 to June 7, 2020.
In a major coup for the sport nationally, the Gold Coast has now procured both of the sport’s eminent international events on the horizon, the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2020 World Bowls Championships, as well the sport’s most lucrative open tournament in the Australian Open, which will award more than $1,125,000 in prize money and attract more than 20,000 participants over its five year duration.
Broadbeach Bowls Club, Musgrave Hill Bowls Club and Club Helensvale have been handpicked to simultaneously stage the World Bowls Championships, given the necessity of eight bowls greens to accommodate the 240-player draw.
As a consequence of securing the sport’s pinnacle event, a number of ancillary international events will also head to the Gold Coast in the preceding years.
The annual Trans Tasman test series between Australia and New Zealand will take place on the coast for a three-year period, from 2017-2019, in addition to the 13-nation 2019 Asia Pacific Championships, the Southern Hemisphere’s qualifying event for the World Bowls Championships.
Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Commonwealth Games, Kate Jones said the partnership between TEQ, local government and bowls’ governing bodies to secure the Championships would provide Queensland with a positive legacy to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“Major events play an important role in growing tourism and a strong tourism industry means jobs for Queenslanders,” said Ms Jones.
“The 2020 World Bowls Championships will generate more than 30,000 visitor nights and an estimated $5.71 million in spending.”
Bowls Australia Chief Executive Officer Neil Dalrymple said that while the Gold Coast region is already a heartland for the sport, it’s fast becoming the lawn bowls capital of the world.
“This is a significant announcement for the sport and ensures that the 602,788 annual participants and 495,056 club members have the opportunity to witness the premier event on the international bowls calendar,” Mr Dalrymple said.
“With the number and quality of bowls events to be staged across the Gold Coast over the next five years, the region has truly positioned itself as the jewel in the crown of lawn bowls internationally.”
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said securing lawn bowls’ pre-eminent event was testament to the Gold Coast’s resounding appeal and world-class sporting facilities.
“This event will capitalise on the legacy of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, utilising the upgraded Broadbeach Bowls Club,” said Cr Tate.
“Bowls is already hugely popular in this city – increasingly so among our young people, so it’s good sense to make this kind of investment.
“It’s events like this that are helping to give the city international recognition as both a vibrant events capital and a sporting destination.”
World Bowls Chief Executive Officer Gary Smith said that the event is a coup for both the sport of bowls and the region.
“We are delighted that the pinnacle event on the World Bowls events calendar, our four yearly World Championships, will again be staged in Australia and on the magnificent Gold Coast,” Smith said.
“World Bowls is sincerely grateful to all those who will contribute in a wide variety of ways to what will no doubt prove to be another outstandingly successful and memorable event for all involved.”
The announcement ensures Australia will stage the coveted event twice within an eight year period, after the Australian Jackaroos created history by claiming five gold and two silver from the eight disciplines on offer during a stellar campaign at the 2012 iteration in Adelaide, South Australia.
The 2016 World Bowls Championships will be contested in Christchurch, New Zealand, from November 29 to December 11.