Rebecca Van Asch to make Commonwealth Games debut

TEAMMATES: Commonwealth Games-bound bowlers Carla Krizanic and Rebecca Van Asch. Picture: Bowls Australia
TEAMMATES: Commonwealth Games-bound bowlers Carla Krizanic and Rebecca Van Asch. Picture: Bowls Australia

A second Tasmanian has been confirmed for 2018’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Invermay world champion bowler Rebecca Van Asch was unveiled as the sole Tasmanian in the national bowls squad on Tuesday, giving the 29-year-old the chance to make her Games debut on home soil.

Van Asch was unlucky to miss out on a spot in the 2014 Glasgow Games, but all disappointment was driven into the ditch when Australian Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti confirmed the newly-crowned Tasmanian Athlete of the Year had been selected in the five-strong women’s team. 

“Im absolutely over the moon to have made the team for next year, it’s certainly been a dream come true for me,” Van Asch said.

“It was certainly disappointing three years ago to be in that position but I tried to use that as my motivation going forward and I looked at why I might have missed out and tried to rebuild and work even harder than I had before. 

“That worked in my favour leading up to last year’s world championships and I’m really happy to have kept that form going to make this Commonwealth Games.”

When April comes Van Asch will be joined on the plane to the Gold Coast by fellow Launcestonian Jake Birtwhistle, who became the first Tasmanian to book a ticket to the Games by completing a top-five finish in the World Triathlon Series earlier this year.

In the meantime, the multiple world champion will split her training regime between her home greens in Launceston and the Commonwealth Games’ bowling battleground - the Broadbeach Bowls Club.

“As a team we’ll be getting together at least a week (per) month between now and when the Commonwealth Games roll around.

“I think we’ll be trying to find some competitions that we might be able to compete in once we know what our disciplines are, so if there are events on the Gold Coast we’ll try and get up there and compete to give ourselves the best opportunities and chances to play on those greens.”

Van Asch’s Games teammates include Kelsey Cottrell, Carla Krizanic and Natasha Scott, with whom she won a fours world championship in December last year, and Karen Murphy. 

Van Asch said she and her teammates intended to make the most of the home ground advantage when the time came. 

“I think being a home Commonwealth Games we need to try to make the most of getting up there as often as we can and we’ve been up to Broadbeach a lot over the last 12 months so we’ll continue to try and do that.

“It is a home ground advantage and we need to make sure we can turn that home ground advantage into some strong results.”

The Commonwealth Games will get under way with an opening ceremony on April 4 before wrapping up on April 15.

2018 GOLD COAST BOWLS TEAM

Women’s team: Kelsey Cottrell (NSW), Carla Krizanic (VIC), Karen Murphy (NSW), Natasha Scott (NSW), Rebecca Van Asch (TAS)

Men’s team: Barrie Lester (VIC), Nathan Rice (QLD), Aron Sherriff (QLD), Brett Wilkie (QLD), Aaron Wilson (NSW)

Athletes with a disability triples: Tony Bonnell (QLD), Ken Hanson (VIC), Joshua Thornton (VIC)

Vision-impaired pairs: Jake Fehlberg (QLD, with director Grant Fehlberg), Lynne Seymour (QLD, with director Robert Seymour)