The Indian women lawn bowls team created history after clinching a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games 2022 on Tuesday. The Indian quartet of Lovely Choubey (lead), Pinki (second), Nayanmoni Saikia (third) and Rupa Rani Tirkey (slip) beat South Africa 17-10 in the women's fours final.
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The Indian team led 8-2 at one stage but the South African team comprising Thabelo Muvhango (lead), Bridget Calitz (second), Esme Kruger (third) and Johanna Snyman (skip) made it 8-8 to spice up the contest.
However, the Indians kept their nerves to pull away in the last three ends to give Indian contingent’s fourth gold in Birmingham. It was India’s maiden final appearance in the women’s fours format of the competition.
But how many know about India’s golden quartet of Lovely, Pinki, Nayanmoni and Rupa Rani? Let’s get to know them a bit more before discussing the game and how points are scored in the sport.
Know Your Stars
Lovely Choubey: Lovely is a constable with Jharkhand Police. Born in Ranchi in a middle-class family, she participated in her first lawn bowl nationals in 2008 and clinched a gold medal. Her father is a retired Coal India employee while her mother is a housewife. Lovely was a part of the India women’s fours team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast where they were ousted by Malta in quarterfinals.
Pinki: Pinki is a physical education teacher with DPS RK Puram in New Delhi. She completed her schooling from Salwan Girls Public School, New Delhi and did her graduation from Kamala Nehru College. Pinki also pursued a sports degree from Delhi University and sports diploma from SAI Patiala. She first participated in lawn bowls nationals in 2007 and since then it was no looking back for her. Pinki had also participated in 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games. She was also a part of the India women’s triples team that finished fourth at 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Besides, she had also several global medals at the continental level.
Dear world,— Team India (@WeAreTeamIndia) August 2, 2022
Meet 🇮🇳 #TeamIndia's first-ever Commonwealth Games gold medallists in Lawn Bowls 🥇👇
Rupa Rani Tirkey, Nayanmoni Saikia, Lovely Choubey, and Pinki Singh 👏👏#EkIndiaTeamIndia | #B2022 pic.twitter.com/TckVWCfUkO
Nayanmoni Saikia: Nayanmoni Saikia comes from a farming family in Assam and works in the state’s forest department. She is married to a local businessman and the couple has a daughter. Nayanmoni took up weightlifting initially in 2008 but a leg injury forced her to abandon the sport and switch to lawn bowls. Soon, lawn bowls became her passion and she went on to win several medals at top competitions over the years, including gold in U-25 Girls Asian Championship in 2012, Asian Games in 2017 and two editions of the National Games.
Rupa Rani Tirkey: Tirkey, who hails from Ranchi, works as a District Sports Officer in the Department of Sports, State Government of Jharkhand since 2020. She completed her school education from St. Aan’s Girls High School and pursued graduation from Gossner College. Tirkey has represented India at three Commonwealth Games. In 2010, she was a part of Indian women’s triples team that finished fourth, the triples and fours teams at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and in the pairs and fours teams at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. In 2020. Tirkey was selected for the 2020 World Outdoor Bowls Championship in Australia. She has also won a gold and bronze in women’s triples and fours respectively at the 2009 Asia Pacific Bowls Championship in Kuala Lumpur. She was also a part of the Indian women’s triples team that won bronze at 2019 Asia Pacific Bowls Championship in Gold Coast.
How Lawn Bowls Is Played?
Normally, Lawn Bowls is played in three formats – singles, doubles and fours, depending on the number of individuals pitted against each other. The player/team which manages to place its bowls closer to the stationary target, called ‘The Jack’, are awarded the points.
The bowls needed to be rolled on the floor from a distance. In the four-player format, each team gets eight throws, or rolls, from one ‘end’. One ‘end’ means completion of one round. One team has to throw the bowls from 18 ends to complete the match and it happens in a circular manner.
The team with more points after 18 ends of throws will take the contest. A coin toss starts the game and the winner gets to choose which end to begin the game from. The 'Jack' is then placed at one end and rolled towards the other end.
The 'Jack' has to travel at least 23m to be considered in play. While bowling, a player has to have at least one foot of the mat.
History made!— Team India (@WeAreTeamIndia) August 2, 2022
Team 🇮🇳 defeat 🇿🇦 17-10 in the Women’s Fours to clinch their first ever 🥇in Lawn Bowls at @birminghamcg22 .
This is India’s 4th Gold medal in the games.
Nayanmoni Saikia, Pinki Singh, Lovely Choubey & Rupa Rani Tirkey, more power to you! pic.twitter.com/z5nmh7LjiO
How Are Points Awarded?
The number of points awarded is determined by the number of bowls a team has managed to place closer to the ‘Jack’ compared to its opponent. For example: If Team A places two bowls closer to the 'Jack’ compared to Team B’s closest bowls, it will win two points for the end.
In case team A had managed to place three bowls closer to the target than team B’s closest bowl, it would have been awarded three points. In case the distance between the jack and the bowls is not visually evident, umpires use a device called as ‘box measure’ that uses a string to determine the score.
Indians At Other Lawn Bowls CWG 2022 Events
The Indian women's team defeated New Zealand 15-11 in their first match of the triples lawn bowls event on Tuesday. The trio of Tania Choudhary (lead), Pinki (second) and Rupa Rani Tirkey (skip) proved to be far superior than the Kiwis.
Meanwhile, in the women pairs event, the Indian team comprising Lovely Choubey (lead) and Nayanmoni Saikia (skip) went down to New Zealand 18-9. In men’s singles first round, Mridul Borgohain went down 8-21 to New Zealand's Shannon Mcilroy.
Borgohain will now face Chris Locke of Falkland Islands and Scotland's Iain Mclean in his next two rounds.