Commonwealth Games medallists from Warwick district start countdown to 2022

Councillor Michael Coker, portfolio holder for culture; Kelly Sibley, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist (table tennis); Sarah-Jane Perry, Commonwealth Games silver medallist (squash); Councillor Stephen Cross, Chairman of Warwick District Council.
Councillor Michael Coker, portfolio holder for culture; Kelly Sibley, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist (table tennis); Sarah-Jane Perry, Commonwealth Games silver medallist (squash); Councillor Stephen Cross, Chairman of Warwick District Council.

The countdown until the Commonwealth Games comes to the Warwick district has started.

With just over four years to go until the 2022 Games, local athletes who competed at the Gold Coast joined former medallists and representatives from Bowls England, Disability Bowls England, Visually Impaired Bowls England and Warwick District Council to start the countdown to the 2022 Bowls and Para Bowls competition taking place in Leamington.

Since the announcement last December that the Games will be coming to Birmingham and the confirmation that the Bowls and Para Bowls competition will be held at Victoria Park in Leamington, the Warwick District Council is already putting plans in place to get the community excited.

At the start of the Women’s Junior International Bowls Championships at Victoria Park, on Saturday July 21, local Gold Coast medallists, Sarah-Jane Perry (silver squash) and Kelly Sibley (team bronze table-tennis) took part in a presentation by Warwick District Council to celebrate their success in 2018 and to welcome them as Warwick District sports ambassadors.

Sarah-Jane Perry said: “It’s so exciting that the 2022 Commonwealth Games is happening so locally and that Warwick district will get to host some of the action.

“I’m really looking forward to the build-up but more than anything I can’t wait for the opportunity to compete in a home games and hopefully win another medal.

“I’m delighted to become an ambassador for Warwick district in such an exciting time; hopefully I can help ensure the legacy from the games is as great as possible.”

Kelly Sibley said: “To have the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham is exciting for everyone, and for Leamington to have been chosen as one of the places to host one of the sports in such a huge event is fantastic.

“I am so delighted and proud to become a Warwick district sports ambassador to act as a role model and to encourage others at this exciting time.”

Spectators and competitors to the event also had the opportunity to meet Warwick District Council’s recently appointed Commonwealth Games Officer, Christina Boxer, who won 1500 metres gold at the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games and silver at the 1990 Auckland games.

They also had the chance to meet; Bowls England Chief Executive, Tony Allcock MBE, 15-time World Bowls champion who won a silver medal at the 1994 Victoria games; and Para Bowls medallists and competitors Paul Brown (bronze Glasgow 2014), Kieran Rollings (the youngest 2018 Team England Bowls member) and Katherine Rednall (bronze Gold Coast 2018), who was competing in Saturday’s Championships.

Former VIBE national champion, Georgina Dark, a visually impaired player also attended, highlighting just how inclusive the sport of bowls is.

Councillor Michael Coker, Warwick District Council’s portfolio holder for culture, said: “The 2022 Commonwealth Games is an opportunity that our district needs to grasp with both hands.

“This is the start of an exciting four year journey, and over the coming months and years there will be a host of opportunities for local people to get involved.”

Tony Allcock MBE, Bowls England Chief Executive, said: “Victoria Park is an iconic venue for the sport of lawn bowls across the globe, having hosted the Women’s World Championships twice together with national and international events for more than 40 years.

“However, the Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle of our sport, and as such we are determined to support our partners to ensure a successful bowls event in 2022 and to use the associated publicity to encourage the next generation of participants into our sport.”