New Delhi: Lawn bowls traces its history as far back as the 13th century, and despite its simplicity—players roll an asymmetrical ball and get it as close to a stationary ball as they can—it has been popular ever since. In Delhi, lawn bowls will feature some of the oldest athletes at the Games, including 69-year-old George Paice and 73-year-old Gerald Reive from New Zealand, and Scotland’s Willie Wood, who, at 72, will be competing in his eighth Commonwealth Games.
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A relatively unknown sport in India, lawn bowls is immensely popular in the British Isles and has, hence, been a part of the Commonwealth Games ever since its inception. By its very nature, the game prioritizes tactical acumen over physical prowess, and can be played by a single player, a pair or a triad. England, Scotland, New Zealand and Australia have won the most medals in this discipline at the Games. At the Melbourne edition, the home team walked away with the honours, beating traditional powerhouse England. At the Delhi Games, England will be out to regain some lost glory and end its recent gold medal drought in the discipline.
Text by Anupam Verma
Graphic by Uttam Sharma
Illustration by Shyamal Banerjee/Mint