Birmingham, here we come!

Blind Low Vision NZ is excited to congratulate two of our Blind Low Vision NZ members who will be representing New Zealand at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Lawn Bowls!

Deane Robertson and his director Kevin Smith, and Sue Curran and her director Bronwyn Milne, are setting off to Birmingham, England this July where they’ll compete against other country’s top players.

For those who aren’t familiar with how blind bowls works, the director gives detailed instructions to the bowler on direction and strategy.

This requires a high level of trust and communication. Team mates will also need to have a good relationship, as the sport requires many hours of dedication and training.

Deane first started bowls only 4 ½ years ago at a “have a go day” at Burnside Bowling Club. An event organised by Erin Eyles, Recreation and Community Advisor at Blind Low Vision NZ. This sparked a keen interest and a natural talent was discovered.

Only two months after Deane’s first try at bowls, he was competing at nationals in Tauranga for blind bowlers, where he won a title in singles.

Deane says he wouldn’t be able to do it with Kevin, his director.

“I can’t say enough about Kevin Smith. He is a real awesome guy who would do anything for you”

When asked how he feels about making it into the Commonwealth Games, Deane says he felt overwhelmed.

“You really can do anything you want to do” Deane says, “I hope I make my country proud and other people who are blind”

Deane and Kevin wearing NZ Black Team shirts, with Deane holding a blue bowl
Deane and Kevin wearing NZ Black Team shirts, with Deane holding a blue bowl

Sue first started bowls in 2011 with inspiration from her step-father. Sue and her director, Bronwyn, have a strong friendship which can be seen on the field.

When Sue approached her retirement age and reduced vision, she sparked an interest in indoor bowls at the Hamilton Blind Indoor Bowls. Initially, Sue wasn’t too keen on the idea of outdoor bowls, but she decided to give it a go.

After her first nationals, she was named in the wider development squad for the Blind/Low Vision World Champs.

Over the past 10 years, Sue has been an integral part of the low vision bowls community. She has competed in a number of competitions, such as the Blind World Championships, Multi Nationals and numerous Trans-Tasman competitions.

No stranger to the big stage, this will be Sue’s third Commonwealth Games.

“I am thrilled to be named once more into the Commonwealth Games squad as a B3 player” Sue says, “It is an absolute honour to wear the Silver Fern and to represent New Zealand”

Sue and Bronwyn wearing NZ Black Team shirts
Sue and Bronwyn wearing NZ Black Team shirts

Please join us in congratulating Deane Robertson, Kevin Smith, Sue Curran and Bronwyn Milne. We wish them the best of luck and look forward to cheering them on this July at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games!