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Summersgill continues late wife’s legacy

“This tournament means so much to me. My wife was involved in it. She used to be a blind bowler.”

Team SA manager and Visually Impaired Bowls SA (Vibsa) coach Cedric Summersgill admitted his late wife, Beppie, would be proud after the success of the International Bowls for the Disabled Championships (IBD) last month.

The tournament, won by SA after accumulating 19 medals, was hosted by Ekurhuleni Bowls from May 19 to 31 at the Delville, Kempton Park and Benoni Central bowling clubs.

Beppie and the tournament organiser, Owen James, started planning for the tournament in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic, looking for suitable host venues and hotels to accommodate about 160 players.

Cedric Summersgill was the Team SA manager during the IBD champs.

“This tournament means so much to me. My wife was involved in it. She used to be a blind bowler. She and Owen James started planning for it in 2020,” said Summersgill.

“My passion lies with visually impaired and physically disabled bowls. Hence, since Beppie’s passing last year, I’ve stayed involved in it.”

A long-time director for Beppie, Summersgill credited her for igniting his love for bowls for the disabled, adding the passion and dedication displayed by all the teams in the IBD champs showed disability doesn’t mean inability.

“Nothing is more satisfying for me than directing a visually impaired bowler. It’s stunning when you can get somebody who can’t see, direct them, and they manage to put the ball within a couple of inches of the jack. That’s where my passion lies,” he said.

Beppie Summersgill died last June.

In continuing Beppie’s legacy, he runs directors’ courses they plan to do throughout the country to promote bowls for disabled people.

“We did our first pilot project in Cape Town. It was successful because we try to upskill our directors. We work with Bowls SA (BSA) to promote bowls for the disabled to get more tournaments.

“They currently only have their nationals once a year. We are trying to get them more competitions.”

Cedric Summersgill (left) with Paul and May Homer.

The Airfield resident welcomed the integration of Bowls for the Disabled SA into BSA, saying it would benefit the sport financially and operationally.

“It’s a huge step because up until now, we had two separate organisations, Vibsa and Physically Disabled Bowls SA (PDBSA). Only in the last three years did both organisations start working together. The idea and vision is to operate under one umbrella,” said Summersgill.

Following their success at the IBD, Summersgill said they would begin with their preparations for the International Blind Bowls Association (IBBA) Championships in New Zealand in 2026.

Also Read: #IBDChamps: Van der Vyver wins gold on final day as Team SA claim bragging rights

Also Read: #IBDChamps: Bowler urges communities and corporates to rally behind disability sports


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