This article appeared in a previous “Extra Ends” newsletter
By Pricilla Westlake
It is always an exceptional pleasure and a privilege to play for Canada, and my third time competing at the World Youth Championships (WYC) in Broad Beach, QLD, Australia (March 27 – April 3, 2017) was certainly no exception.
I am incredibly grateful to have won Canada’s very first medal at the World Youth Championships (WYC) and I am extra proud that our first medal at this tournament was a gold one.
Firstly I’d like to thank my friends and family for all of their support towards my bowls career, I couldn’t have accomplished the things I have in bowls without them. I want to thank Bowls BC for all their hard work towards developing a solid lawn bowls program for U18 bowlers and for helping me develop through the provincial pathway and onto the Canadian national team. And lastly, I’d like to thank Bowls Canada and World Bowls for making it a possibility for young Canadian lawn bowlers like myself to play and compete for Canada at development tournaments overseas like the WYC. It makes a world of difference in becoming a better player. Being able to compete at a world U25 event against some of the world’s top youth bowlers from around the globe is an amazing learning experience and one which shapes a youth bowler into that much of a better player.
I have learned and improved so much from competing in the past three World Youth Championships; one of my biggest takeaways from this tournament being the opportunity to witness the impeccable quality of play, strategy, determination, and focus, some of these young players have as well as being able to see exactly how good one can get at the sport of bowls. The technical prowess some of these young bowlers possess is astonishing and being able to compete in these events helps me appreciate these things and makes me determined to be a better player as well.
In the gold medal, televised match, I played Australia’s Ellen Ryan beating her by the narrowest of margins picking up a three in the last end to win the match 21-20.
An unexpected victory, I think I will always remember this tournament — a tournament in which I had to beat three of the defending champions (Chloe Stewart, Kristina Kristic, and Ellen Ryan) and then by the end of it all get to stand in the middle of them on the podium. And I am thankful for all the Canadians back home, especially to my family and friends, and those abroad who watched my game and were cheering me on. The support was overwhelming. Thank you.
I will use the experiences I gained from playing at my third World Youth Championships to improve my game here on the Canadian front with the eventual goal of representing Canada at the Commonwealth Games.