04 September 2023
Para Jackaroo Serena Bonnell has rolled out the inaugural Rainbow Versatility Pairs bowls tournament at Club Tweed on the Gold Coast with plans for next year's event already underway.
The tournament saw a full field of 56 players of varying age, background and ability play in a versatile format with three types of pair combinations.
Representatives from Australia, NZ, Canada and Ireland competed in front of spectators from across bowls Australia and Club Tweed, as well as internationals.
The competition facilitated a fun and safe space for all while sparking important conversations around proactive inclusion.
Bonnell said the purpose of the day was “to celebrate the LGBTIQ+ community and how inclusive and brilliant our sport (bowls) can be.”
The AIS Thrive with Pride Ambassador said that she relishes the chance to encourage clubs and members to embrace diversity in all its forms and proactively include all members of the community.
“I want to use any opportunity I have to push for inclusive practices within sport. As a para athlete, I know what inclusion is intimately.”
The event also offered an opportunity to welcome new members to the sport and a chance to mix with high performance athletes including Bonnell’s Para Jackaroo teammates, Cheryl Lindfield and Damien Delgado.
The competition was an official Bowls Australia ranked meet where athletes could increase their national standing and compete for a share in $3,000 worth of prize money.
Taking out the tournament win was the 2021 Australian Open over 60’s men’s pairs champions, Max Jaffray and Neville Jenkins. The team progressed undefeated through their three games and earned the top prize of $1,200.
Roger and Bronwyn Stevens claimed the silver with Damien Delgado and his partner John Delgado taking bronze.