The Australian Open, Australia’s biggest lawn bowl’s competition, will be held from 11 to 24 June 2016 in Queensland’s Gold Coast. Competitors will compete for A$225,000 in prize money.
There will be 2,000 participants, including 158 lawn bowl competitors from overseas.
There will be 85 lawn bowlers from New Zealand, 32 from China, 21 from Malaysia, nine from the United Kingdom, three from South Africa, and two from India.
The youngest competitor will be Kane Nelson, 13, from the Brisbane suburb of Belmont. The oldest will be Joan Wallis, 84, from Gold Coast's Musgrave Hill.
Bowls Australia National Coach Steve Glasson thinks the Gold Coast is the perfect spot to host the games. The 2018 Commonwealth Games will also be held in the Gold Coast.
“There are so many clubs, the climate is perfect, and the facilities and greens are world-class – plus it's a great, fun place to go. It's got theme parks, restaurants, beaches … the list is endless,” Steve says
The annual event was formerly divided into a series of qualifying rounds, which were held in each of Australia’s states and territories.
The Gold Coast's ability to host all of the more than 4,000 matches on 15 of its 23 bowls clubs and its stellar hotels makes it an ideal spot to host the Australian Open.
There are more than 70 greens within a 45 minute-drive of each other, running from Coolangatta to Paradise Point.
“It's just a unique spot – why would you want to have a blue ribbon event anywhere else?” says Bowls Australia President Nigel Smith.
“And that's the reason we have secured pretty much every major international event from now until 2020.”
Canada's Ryan Bester, one of world’s top lawn bowls players, is one many players from other countries that have moved to the Gold Coast to train, while continuing to represent their own countries when they compete internationally.
“Obviously Australia is the best place in the world for bowls, not just because it's a great sporting country, but because the weather allows for the best surfaces in the world,” Ryan says.
Ryan decided to remain in Australia after competing in the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The object of lawn bowls is to roll a ball as close to a smaller ball as close as possible without actually touching it.
Lawn bowls dates back to 12th or 13th century England. It is currently played in more than 40 countries.
Location and Transport
Gold Coast Airport is served by AirAsia, Air New Zealand, Hongkong Airlines, Jetstar, Jetgo Australia, Qantas, Scoot, Tigerair, and Virgin Australia.
There are non-stop flights to several domestic travel destinations and the following foreign travel destinations: Britain, China, Fiji, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States.