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Local bowler brings back bronze from SA national championship

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Lawn bowls in 2024 will stand as a testament to the sport’s evolution, blending tradition with a competitive edge. Barry Minopetros embodies this spirit, inspiring a new generation of bowlers to chase their dreams on the greens.

Barry Minopetros, a prominent player from Beaconsfield Park Bowling Green Club, recently brought home a bronze medal after competing at the Bowls South Africa Men’s National Championships. Picture: Danie van der Lith

LAWN bowls, once stereotyped as a pastime for seniors reminiscing about their grandchildren, has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years.

These days the sport is a dynamic activity embraced by both young and old, where the fierce competition on the greens rivals any mainstream sport. Dedication and hard work in lawn bowls can propel players to new heights, as evidenced by the journey of Kimberley’s Barry Minopetros.

Barry, the President of the Beaconsfield Park Bowling Green Club, spends his weekends meticulously honing his bowling skills on the greens. For him, lawn bowls transcends sport – it’s a family tradition.

The DFA learned that Barry’s passion began over 30 years ago, playing alongside his parents. Now, his son Keegan, a formidable player himself, has joined the ranks, continuing the family legacy.

“I’ve been playing bowls from a very young age. My parents play bowls, and that’s where my love for the sport started. Both my parents still play bowls , and my son is also part of our bowls family,” Barry shared.

Recently, however, Barry upped the ante, showcasing the depth of his talent at the Bowls South Africa Men’s National Championships in Johannesburg.

This prestigious tournament features the nation’s top players, testing their skills to the highest level. It was by chance that Barry joined forces with Robbie Robertson from the Northern Free State.

“Robbie called me up one day and asked if I wanted to join him in the national tournament,” Barry told the DFA. “I agreed, and off we went. Robbie and I don’t know each other; we don’t play or train together, so everything was new to us as a pair,” Barry explained.

The competition kicked off on Saturday with 408 teams in the pairs section. Monday and Tuesday saw the fours, followed by singles on Wednesday, and the play-offs from Thursday to Sunday.

Despite the tough competition, Barry praised the excellent playing conditions. “The quality of the greens was really good – a bit faster than ours at home, but the balls rolled true. That’s a sign of really good greens,” he noted.

Barry’s journey in the tournament reached its peak in the semi-finals. At one point, they trailed 15-1, seemingly on the brink of elimination. However, they mounted a remarkable comeback with two ends to go, ultimately losing by just three shots, the final score being 16-19.

Reflecting on his performance, Barry expressed immense pride in his accomplishments. “Bringing home a bronze medal and being declared the third best in the country is something I am really proud of,” he told the DFA.

Yet, even with this achievement in the bag, with several events lined up this year, Barry remains focused on improving his game. Each practice and match is a step towards becoming the best he can be.

He admitted that though skills and training are vital, having the right tools for the job is a big help.

“I really want to thank my bowls sponsor, Aero Bowls South Africa, for sponsoring my bowls. They have really made a difference in the way I play, and for that, I am really grateful,” Barry concluded.

Barry is proudly sponsored by Aero Bowls South Africa. Picture: Danie van der Lith

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