Help Visually Impaired Bowlers of Ekurhuleni take part in world champs

"Most of the players are on social grants or are casually-employed and often fall in the minimum wage category.”

The Visually Impaired Bowlers of Ekurhuleni (VIBE) and the Bowls for the Disabled South Africa (BDSA) are asking for financial assistance for their bowlers taking part in the International Bowls for the Disabled (IBD) world championships next month.

The organisations urge the community and businesses to help their bowlers fulfil their dream of representing SA, in the tournament, which will be hosted in Ekurhuleni from May 18 to 31.

The SA team, announced last month, consists of 46 players, including a Bowls SA Invitational team.

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All these players have to self-fund to participate in the tournament because the sport doesn’t receive funding from SASCOC or the Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, outside of the Commonwealth Games.

“The big issue is funding,” said Cedric Summersgill from VIBE.

“The players are required to self-fund their participation at these championships. Most of them are on social grants or are casually-employed and often fall in the minimum wage category.”

Summersgill explained the players are passionate and have a burning desire to wear the green and gold, adding most have enjoyed success at international level as witnessed at the 14th World Bowls Championships in Australia last year.

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“Their bowls talent allows them to play at an international level. This was witnessed in the recent world champs and multi-nations series where some of these players, played SA into second place, falling only a few points short of gold medals,” said Summersgill.

Benonians May Homer and Gareth Rees-Gibbs, along with their partners Herman Scholtz and Deon van der Vyver, helped SA to a silver medal in the competition.

Homer and Scholtz clinched a gold medal in the multi-nation series Down Under last March.

BDSA’s Rees-Gibbs urged the community to assist, saying their coffers are running dry.

“We are already digging into the funds in our coffers because time is limited. We need funding urgently. A request goes out to anybody who wants to help,” he said.

To assist, contact Summersgill on 083 442 8114 or

A total of 28 countries are expected to take part in the tournament, including Canada, England, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

The matches will take place at the Delville Bowling Club in Germiston and Kempton Park Bowling Club, with the overflow matches at Benoni Town Bowling Club.

“This event takes place every four years. However, we couldn’t play in 2020 due to Covid-19. So the players have been starved of this international level bowls since 2016 when it was last played,” Summersgill said.

Ekurhuleni Bowls will be represented by seven bowlers, including Summersgill, Homer and Rees-Gibbs.

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