Beginning in December, we will be showcasing a bowler with a disability each month. This month we interviewed 15-year-old bowler Alex (Alexios) Angelopoulos from Elwood Bowls Club.
At the age of five years old, Alex Angelopoulos was diagnosed with Dystonia, affecting his mobility on the right side of his body. Since then he has used a wheelchair.
Alex’s first taste of bowls was similar to that of most children, participating in a primary school bowls program. After this he began playing and training at his local bowls club, Elwood Bowls Club. In 2016, he was asked by the then club president Owen Hourigan to play Pennant. Playing at Elwood BC, Alex met his friends Angus and Liam Murphy who were members of the Eastern Eagles Junior Development Squad and encouraged Alex to join.
When asked about his experience playing bowls with a disability, Alex stated, “It isn’t anything that different from when I think of a person who usually plays bowls, although it comes with a few quirks but does have its advantages such as the potential and possibility of being consistent in accuracy when playing. This is due to the way the wheels on my wheelchair work as a guide and are fixed so it doesn’t move and essentially nothing can go wrong with it.”
One of Alex’s favourite parts of bowls is the “aspect of socialising”. “I always felt that lawn bowls helped me get out of my shell and therefore making me more sociable. I make good friends and acquaintances, not only at my local club, but also at other clubs where I play pennant, tournaments and events” Alex described.
We asked Alex how he felt about the opportunities that exist for junior and disability bowlers in Victoria. “I find that the local clubs are very warm and welcoming to young members. Kids and those with disabilities need a push and encouragement to participate, because particularly the younger generation think that it’s a sport for older people, that’s why I think there are plenty of opportunities out there like the U18’s and school programs. These are beneficial in attracting and getting younger members to participate. Also, the disability players may feel self-conscious about their disabilities, but there seem to be many viable events for bowlers with disabilities offered by Bowls Victoria.”
Although Alex is only young, he has had a successful bowls career so far. Recently he was runners up in the inaugural Junior League, where he represented Elwood BC with Angus, Liam and Xing Yi Jiang (Jason). Alex won the Pennant Division 7 Sectional Grand Final for Elwood BC. He has also received an “8” badge in Division 1 Electric Light Bowls.
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