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Bowls a class act

Saturday 6 March 2010 | Published in Regional

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On shots, drives and drawing to the jack are just some of the new words and skills Tereora College year 13 physical education (PE) students are learning on the lawn bowls green.

Close to 30 students from the national college are taking lawn bowls to earn NCEA (national certificate of education achievement) credits in PE.

The lawn bowls course for students is being coached by singles champion Vana Ohmsen who has been impressed by the skills displayed by the secondary school students.

The 10-week lawn bowls programme comprises five weeks of practical lessons on the greens and a final five weeks of theory work.

Students can earn a maximum of 21 credits through PE classes.

Level 2 students must earn 20 credits through the year while level 3 students must earn 60 credits.

Year 13 PE student Elizabeth Matangaro giggled her way through her lawn bowls session on Wednesday with her 19 other classmates.

“This if my first time playing lawn bowls and I’m really enjoying it,” says Matangaro.

While the goal for Tereora College PE students is to earn the maximum 9 credits through lawn bowls, Ohmsen has other ideas.

As well as assisting PE teachers deliver the lawn bowls NCEA course, Ohmsen is also the junior development coach at the Rarotonga Bowling Club in Parekura.

Ohmsen returned to Rarotonga in 2006-07 with the aim of starting a junior lawn bowls programme and selecting age grade squads.

Ohmsen began delivering her junior lawn bowls programme in 2008 for interested bowlers of all ages.

In 2008, Tereora College saw the opportunity for their students to learn a new sport and earn credits at the same time.

The programme continued through 2009 and Ohmsen hopes that by the end of the year – Rarotonga will have at least three age grade junior lawn bowls squads.

“I’ve been very impressed with the Tereora College students,” says Ohmsen.

“Some of the training skills and programmes I’ve been teaching them are what coaches use in Australia during national selections.”

Ohmsen is working with Cook Islands Bowling Association president George Paniani to develop a 12-month junior programme in lawn bowls.

Ohmsen also coaches under 7-year-olds in the afternoon at the Rarotonga bowling club.

Ohmsen and the bowling associations aims to select players to make up a 7 to 11, 12 to 16 and 17 to 21 age grade squads.

Ohmsen hopes to have a squad ready by the start of the National Bowls Championships in mid July.

“We want our junior players to open up this year’s national championships to show our members the bowlers that are coming through the junior programme.”

If you would like your students to take up lawn bowls and earn NCEA credits, or if you would like to learn this surprisingly addictive and very fun sport, contact Vana Ohmsen at the Rarotonga Bowling Club in Parekura to register your interest.