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14 states for National Lawn Bowls

Calcutta: For the first time ever, Calcutta will host the National Lawn Bowls Championship, which gets underway from Friday, at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club in the Maidan — the oldest bowling green in India.

The competition, which was inaugurated on Thursday at the RCGC Maidan tent, will continue till Tuesday.

This edition will be the biggest-ever Nationals with over 100 participants from 14 states vying for eight gold medals in various events, including singles, pairs, triples and fours, in both the men’s and women’s sections. The competition will kick off with singles and fours events in the league format.

Participants of various age-groups are also competing in this meet. While the Delhi squad consists of two 14-year-olds, Ayush Bhardwaj and Rajasvi Panwar (the two youngest participants), the Kerala squad includes 80-year-old V. Sreenivasa Pai, who has been bowling since 1982.

“It’s the love of the game that keeps me going. Besides, I believe bowling is a sport, which you can participate in irrespective of whether you are 10 year old or 80.

“But the main reason for me to participate here is that Kochi will be hosting the Nationals next year,” said Pai.

Chief guest Lt Gen. A.K. Choudhary, GOC, Bengal Area, complimented the West Bengal Bowling Association (WBBA) for hosting the event.“I compliment the WBBA for hosting the Nationals. It always gives me immense pleasure to be among sportspersons,” he said.

“It’s really a pleasure to be here among the talented bowlers. It’s a good sport. I’m sure the tournament will be a huge success,” said special guest Tollywood star Koel Mallick.

Also present were RCGC Captain Aveek Sarkar, secretary general of the Bowling Federation of India Gopi Ram Sharma and working president of the WBBA Devesh Srivastava, who is the captain of the West Bengal men’s team as well.