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SA bowler scores gold medal at international tournament

The South African stuck with his pre-game plan as the match went on, landing the ball in the right places to eventually clinch the match 21-11 and win his first world championships gold after four attempts.

Deon van der Vyver capped off a great showing by SA with an incredible gold medal-winning performance in the B8 men’s final on the last day of the International Bowls for the Disabled (IBD) Championships at the Delville Bowling Club on May 31.

Van der Vyver thwarted a strong challenge from South Korea’s Imi Chunkyu in the match’s initial stages when only a single point after five ends separated them.

SA’s Louise Evans.

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The South African stuck with his pre-game plan as the match went on, landing the ball in the right places to eventually clinch the match 21-11 and win his first world championships gold after four attempts.

“I’m ecstatic. I’ve fallen short in the last three tournaments. In the last world champs, I earned a bronze and a silver before that. To cap it off with a gold is great stuff for SA. I’m super proud. All the hard work has paid off,” he said.

The bowler’s teammates, Nico Beetge and Louise Evans, were also in action on the final day. But it was a tough day for the duo when they lost their finals to the South Korean pair of Song Myeungjun and Yoon Bokja.

South Korea’s Park Cheon Seok in action against Scotland’s Stuart Stevens.

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Myeungjun raced to a 10-0 lead after four ends in his B7 men’s tie with Beetge. However, the South African fought back, earning four valuable points in the next two games. Despite this, Myeungjun remained composed and wrestled back the momentum to win 21-13.

Jarid James was third in the B7 men’s singles.

Evans and Bokja were locked in a game of cat and mouse in the early stages of their B7 women’s final, and both fought relentlessly for the gold.

But Evans’ wheels came off late in the match when she struggled with her length and accuracy, eventually losing 21-15.

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In the other matches, Scotland’s Stuart Stevens won the B8 men’s gold with a 21-7 victory over South Korea’s Park Cheon Seok, while Seok’s teammate, Kim Hyobae, won the women’s B6 final.

Team SA win

SA supporters.

SA took full advantage of the home conditions to win the tournament with seven bronze, eight silver and four gold gongs for a 19-medal haul. South Korea was second with 12 – seven gold, four silver and a bronze.

Team SA manager Cedric Summersgill from Benoni credited the win to the South African players’ hard work.

“We’ve done well. It can only be accredited to the passion and dedication the players put in to show that disability doesn’t mean inability,” he said.

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He added, “It’s been a humbling experience and an honour being made Team SA manager. This tournament has seen such competitive spirit, compassion and camaraderie”.

Summersgill thanked the tournament organiser, Owen James from IBD, Bowls SA and the hosting clubs (Delville, Kempton Park and Benoni) for making the tournament possible.

Success

SA’s Logan Subramony and Keith MacIntosh were third in the B6 men’s pairs.

A dejected James hailed the tournament a success but bemoaned the lack of wheelchair transport in SA.

He thanked Charlie’s Care and Disability Accessible Accommodation Travel & Supply (DAATS) for their help throughout.

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He said it cost around R1.2m to organise the competition, adding it was disappointing that not many sponsors came on board, forcing the players to fund the tournament.

Deon van der Vyver.

“It’s successful and good for the country. Having seen the success, hopefully, with more media coverage, things will change.

“I hope it has shown people that there’s a sport that can take you to the top even though you have a disability,” said James.

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