By Tyler Parker
When picturing your typical lawn bowler, one that is 12 years of age doesn’t normally come to mind. However, young Harry Coleman is part of an emerging generation bucking the trend in the sport.
Since 2010, the number of juniors participating in lawn bowls has increased by 25 percent, with school programs nearing 31 000 participants in 2021. Having made its Commonwealth Games debut back in 1930, it is becoming apparent that it is on for young and old.
Having watched his parents play for many years, Coleman was “very interested in trying [Lawn Bowls]” and made his debut on the green at just seven years old. Naturally progressing into a talented young bowler, Coleman cited his experiences against more mature competitors as a key learning factor.
“It’s been a great challenge playing against more experienced players, the amount I have learnt has been invaluable, I think it has helped me to grow up and respect everyone around me.”
Having learnt the basics of the sport from his Dad as his first coach and Mum as his partner in Pairs competitions, Coleman is now a part of the Geelong Giants U18 Squad which is coached by Commonwealth Games alumni Matt Flapper. Having represented Australia at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the bronze medallist acts as an influential figure in Coleman’s development as a young bowler, who has his own aspirations to represent the green and gold!
“My ultimate goals are of course the Commonwealth Games, but before then I would love to represent my region, state, and country. Next year I will be focused on winning a U18 state title and a club championship.”
Bringing a youthful approach to the sport, Coleman is making strong progress towards his goals, with his recent win in the Geelong Bowls Region U18 Single’s highlighting his growth after being runner-up in the event the two years prior. His development has also been aided by a move to the City of Geelong Bowl’s Club where he has competed in top competitions against skilled opponents at the Geelong Bowls Region Representative and U18 Victorian State Championships.
Having represented Victoria previously, Coleman has his sights set on representing his state again as he trials for the Under 18 National Championships as part of the U18 Victorian Boy’s Squad.
These achievements have also been acknowledged in his local council area, with Coleman a recent recipient of the Golden Plains Shire Citizen Recognition Award for his contribution as a young person in the community.
With this budding young bowler making himself known through his various achievements in the sport, Coleman’s simplistic approach to “treat everyone as an equal despite the difference in age and experience” highlights his already emerging maturity.
Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) has a focus on supporting emerging talent and celebrating the next generation of Australian sport stars.
Over the course of 2023, an athlete will be recognised each month as the Commonwealth Games Australia emerging athlete of the month and will receive a $500 gift certificate as a contribution towards their training expenses.
Three finalists from the monthly winners will be invited to the 2024 Commonwealth Games Australia Presidents Function where one will be named the Commonwealth Games Australia Emerging Athlete of the Year.
The annual winner, selected by the Awards Sub Committee will receive a $5000 CGA scholarship toward their sporting career.