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New Zealand ready to bowl over rivals at the Games

11 July 2002

The New Zealand lawn bowls team departed Auckland yesterday and are on their way to try and win gold at the Games.

Lawn Bowls

The state-of-the-art greens at Heaton Park have already been put to good use at a recent test event

The squad of 19 will complete its preparations for Manchester with a series of matches in Northern Ireland on 14 to 17 July. They arrive at the athletes village on 19 July.

There are eight gold medals to be won in the lawn bowls event, they are men's and women's events in singles, pairs and fours, and for the first time in a Commonwealth Games a full medal recognition for elite athletes with a disability (EADs) in men's triple and blind women's singles.

No less than seven of the New Zealand team's players are current world champions, including Peter Belliss and Rowan Brassey. Both have been internationals for twenty years, with Belliss at his fourth Games and Brassey at his fifth. Marlene Castle is also at her fourth Games. All three have won medals at previous Games but none have yet won gold.

Men's manager, Peter Kean, hopes the special lunch date, which was held to bid the team good luck and farewell will be a good omen for the team.

He said: "The last time we were their guests, in 2000, we were being welcomed back from our most successful season ever. We had a table groaning under the weight of eleven shields, rose bowls and trophies - four from world championships, four from the Asia Pacific champs and three from the trans-Tasman event."

"It was the most silverware ever held by New Zealand at one time, and a great sight for the players and the sport to behold.

"Believe it or not we have added to that in the meantime, but we have some unfinished business at Commonwealth Games which we are planning to put right in Manchester. All ten of the players celebrating the successes of 2000 are in the team for Manchester, and we go there with strong prospects of continuing our exceptional Games record."

The current total of lawn bowls medals won at Commonwealth Games for New Zealand is 27, including nine golds.

To get tickets for lawn bowls, which is being held at Heaton Park, go online to ticket sales.

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