Competitor bowled over by new rule requirement

Carpet bowler David Atkinson, of Riverside, is walking away from bowls due to what he says are hypocritical rules. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

Carpet bowler David Atkinson, of Riverside, is walking away from bowls due to what he says are hypocritical rules. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

A RIVERSIDE man has walked away from the sport of indoor bias bowls due to what he labels the hypocritical nature of its rules.

David Atkinson, who has been playing this form of bowls for about eight years, suffers from psoriatic tendonitis, which affects his ability to hold a bowl and means he had to use a piece of equipment known as a bowling arm.

A bad back has also forced the 57-year-old to use a specially designed walking stick, with a suction cup-like base to ensure no damage to the carpet.

Until recently, he had been able to compete at Riverside with these pieces of equipment without the need for two medical certificates, but as he puts it, "out of the blue" he now has to provide them.

In its rule book, indoor bias bowls states that "due allowance shall be made for any player with a disability or health problems to vary their stance or delivery and to use such support as may be necessary for participation in the sport of indoor bias bowls. Any support used must not damage carpet."

Mr Atkinson believed that it goes against the logical of "due allowance" for medical certificates to have to be provided, and that it is a rule that is not actually a rule, as it is not in the competition's rule book.

Carpet bowler David Atkinson, of Riverside, is walking away from bowls due to what he says are hypocritical rules. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

Carpet bowler David Atkinson, of Riverside, is walking away from bowls due to what he says are hypocritical rules. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

"And I really want people to know that I have been playing by the rules and I believe it (having to produce two medical certificates) is an attack on my character," he said.

Tasmanian Indoor Bias Bowls Association president Tom O'Rourke confirmed that while the medical certificate requirement was not a written rule, it is a national requirement for the sport.

This is to ensure the safety of the carpet and that only those who actually need to use the equipment are using it.

Mr Atkinson will continue to play the outdoor version of the sport for Launceston, where he says it clearly states that only one medical certificate is required, for the use of the bowling arm.

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