Controlling body World Bowls (WB) and host nation Bowls Australia (BA) have agreed that the 2020 World Bowls Championships be postponed indefinitely as a result of the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.
The event, which was set to be staged on the Gold Coast, Queensland, from May 26 – June 7, and involve 36 competing nations from around the world, has prioritised the health and safety of the public, players, staff, officials and volunteers.
Further to the risk of public exposure, many nations have also implemented strict measures on local and international travel, including Australia, where travellers from overseas are currently being made to self-isolate for at least 14 days.
The intention remains to stage the event at an appropriate time in the future, however, given the current climate around the uncertainty related to the virus, WB and BA are unable to provide an official confirmation of rescheduled dates at this stage.
WB Chief Executive Officer, Gary Smith, said the unfortunate decision was made with the health and safety of the public, players, staff, officials and volunteers as the primary concern.
“Given the uncertainty we face as a global community, we have made the unfortunate, but necessary action related to the 2020 World Bowls Championships,” Smith said.
“This situation is not unique to bowls, with many other sports and competitions around the world taking similar cautionary measures.
“We believe this is the right decision to minimise the risk of public exposure to the coronavirus, which the World Health Organisation recently declared a global pandemic.”
BA Chief Executive Officer, Neil Dalrymple, said both parties would continue to monitor the situation and liaise with competing countries as to the future staging of the event.
“We have been monitoring the coronavirus situation closely for several months, with advice taken from the relevant stakeholders and government agencies,” Dalrymple said.
“The decision was not made without careful consideration and we firmly believe they have been made in line with the best interests of the public, players, staff, officials and volunteers.
“We are fully aware that athletes, officials and others may have made travel arrangements for this event, but our overriding concern is the health and safety of all involved in the event.”