FOUR young and very promising lawn bowls players have been selected to compete in an under-20 tournament which is being hosted by Bowls South Africa in Bloemfontein next week.
They are Ronan Olivier (skip), JP Fouche (third), AJ Visser (second) and Ané Olivier (lead).
Fouche and Ané Olivier are from Eros Bowling Club in Windhoek, while Ronan Olivier and Visser are bowlers from Namib Park Bowling Club in Walvis Bay.
Ronan's brother, Cabous, has represented Namibia in the past and will do so again in May when the national team travels to Cardiff, Wales, to participate in the Atlantic championships. Lesley Vermeulen, who has played for Namibia on numerous occasions, will accompany the u20 team as their manager.
The youngest player in the team, Ané Olivier, is only 12-years-old and has been playing for a year. She says she likes to stay active and also does karate for which she was awarded national colours in 2017.
JP Fouche, who incidentally is also Ané's coach, is the oldest player in the team at the age of 17. He has been playing bowls for five years and is a fully qualified coach.
He said that bowls is very sociable, fun and addictive as well as competitive and requires significant concentration. Ronan Olivier, who is 14 years old and has been playing for about four years, was in the winning u20 team last year when he represented the Free State at the same tournament.
AJ Visser, who has been playing bowls for three years, is 16 years old and is in high school in Walvis Bay.
The tournament has attracted a total of 34 teams - 33 from provinces all over South Africa, as well as the team from Namibia. Teams have been divided into six sections, while the tournament will be played as a league within sections.
The six winners of the sections as well as two of the teams who were runners-up in their section and who had the highest scores, will proceed to the quarter finals. The winning four teams will play each other in the semi-finals, while these winners will then tackle each other in the final. Both the third and fourth places will qualify for the bronze medal.
When asked how they felt about representing Namibia, Ané commented:
"I can't wait to take part in my first international game. I can't wait to meet the other teams and it's my first time going to Bloemfontein."
JP remarked that he felt truly honoured to represent his country:
"This is the perfect opportunity to showcase our talents against tough opponents and to show just how lawn bowls as a sport is changing [because of all the young people now playing]."