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Bester overcomes odds to bowl

23 July 2002

Canadian lawn bowler, Ryan Bester, has had to endure more than most to make it to the Commonwealth Games – namely the taunts of his friends, and the weather conditions of his homeland.

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Lester will be glad to see green rather than white

The 17-year-old is the youngest bowler at the games, and he admitted his unusual choice of sport has meant putting up with jibes from his peers, even though he has managed to convert one of them to the game.

And Bester, who lives in Hanover, Ontario, which is blanketed by snow for eight months of the year, has managed to come up with a novel way to keep his eye in during the winter months.

He spurns indoor bowls for a session at his local bowling alley - substituting the usual beer and peanuts for a Coke and potato chips.

“We can only bowl for four months of the year, so the rest of the time I five-pin bowl, which is like tenpin with fewer pins. The arm motion is the same and mentally it’s the same - in both you have to deal with stressful situations,”

“My friends crack some jokes, but they ask me questions on how to play. Actually one of them came out and played just for fun, and he started for real - and he’s pretty competitive now.

“I usually just play in the weekends, but bowling comes first - even before school. I missed a week of school for the national team camp.”

Bester, who started playing when he was nine, said the prospect of playing bowlers up to 50 years his senior doesn’t bother him in the slightest - he will let his bowling, rather than his age do the talking.

“When I was about 13 and bowling against the top people in Canada it was a bit intimidating, but you keep playing them and you get used to it,” he added.

“In Canada people show me respect. But a couple of people on the bus here asked me how old I was, and when I told them they were a bit surprised.

“It feels nice to be the youngest, but I want to be regarded as a player, rather than a young bowler. I think I can take these guys on.”

Info News Service/mb/pjt

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