Bowls in gun over late night incident at Games

By Dylan Cleaver

Bowls NZ chief executive Kerry Clark said there was no cover-up. Photo / Thinkstock
Bowls NZ chief executive Kerry Clark said there was no cover-up. Photo / Thinkstock

Bowls New Zealand has been accused of a cover-up over an incident at the Commonwealth Games where a male player was allegedly denied entry to the apartment of a female Niuean bowler at 2am.

The incident is thought to have occurred towards the end of the Games, held last year in Delhi. The bowler, aged in his 30s, returned to the Niuean woman's apartment in the early hours of the morning but was asked to leave by the woman's roommate. The incident was reported to Niuean management.

Ezra Talamahina, manager of the Niuean bowls team, confirmed he dealt with an incident, but was reluctant to divulge details.

He said he had been in contact with Bowls NZ.

"It's been sorted," was all Mr Talamahina would say.

Bowls NZ chief executive Kerry Clark said there was no cover-up and that the issue being raised now was an example of "muckraking" from some embittered figures within the bowling fraternity.

He said he only became aware of the problem when he received two letters from Ivan Zonich, a former national champion and well-known member of the Pt Chevalier and Mt Albert bowling clubs.

"The whole bowling fraternity is talking about it but none of them has got the guts to ask Bowls NZ what's going on," said Zonich, who said he was told about the incident by people who were at the Games.

He said Bowls NZ's response to this example of player "misbehaviour" was inconsistent with the way they dealt with Gary Lawson, Shayne Sincock, Jamie Hill and Shannon McIlroy, who were suspended from national consideration after being found guilty by Bowls NZ of throwing a match in 2009.

"There's no consistency. They hit some people but leave others alone."

Clark said there was no question of punishment because there was nothing to warrant it.

"What I have been aware of is some communication from people who weren't even at the Games, based on hearsay," Clark said. "Our management at the Games weren't aware of this situation in any way at all as a disciplinary matter of any nature.

"The player concerned had finished playing when this rumour was talked about. We talked to the Niue Island management and he had nothing to say about the matter."

Clark said he had spoken to the bowler involved about his conduct when representing his country.

The New Zealand team had what Clark described as a "disappointing" return in Delhi, with Val Smith's silver in the women's singles the only medal.

- NZ Herald

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