Olympic Bowling in our Future?

OLYMPIC LAWN BOWLING COULD BE BOON

Sports
BY JACOB OGLES | SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING | TUESDAY JUN 28, 2016
lawn bowling

As sports leaders try to make lawn bowling an Olympic event, the coming US Open in Sarasota has suddenly grown in national significance. “It allows a huge influx of dollars to be shared for the sport,” says Daniel Jittu, president of the Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club. “Our expectation is some of that, and some of the tournaments leading up to decide who is representing the US, happens here.”

Gary Smith, CEO for World Bowls, announced earlier this month that the organization had formally launched the process of seeking International Olympic Committee recognition of lawn bowling. “This positive development will be welcomed by our global bowls community,” he says. The organization will submit further paperwork before the end of August and the IOC is expected to consider the application for recognition at a meeting this December. This means no decision will be made before the Olympics this summer in Brazil and recognition of the sport is just the first step in a lengthy process to events actually being included in the Olympic games.

But with the US Open scheduled this year in Sarasota for Nov. 12–19, just a month before the IOC’s winter meeting. Jittu’s organization will host the event, which he expects to draw 250 to 300 players from more than 50 countries. He hopes the fact Sarasota has tournament quality lawn bowling courts, located on the Sarasota Bayfront, will be a boon as the sport grows. “My understanding is as early as this time, we would be considered an Olympic-accepted venue,” he says. And while the US is still considered a developing nation in the decidedly old world sport, some of the best players in the US live and train here.

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