International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on the 8th March, marking the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. In honour of the upcoming day we sat down with one of our high profile female bowlers, Georgia White, who has recently returned from competing internationally at BPL09.

How old were you and why did you start playing bowls?

I was 13 when I started playing bowls. My parents were always playing at the local bowls club, so I decided to get out there and play, rather than sitting on the sidelines watching.

What do you love about bowls?

My favourite thing about bowls is how inclusive it is.  Anyone can play, all ages, all abilities and from all walks of life.

You’ve just come back from competing in #BPL09 in New Zealand, what was some of the highlights of the event for you?

Representing the Hawks internationally was such an honour. Also playing alongside Nathan Rice and Aron Sherriff, as they are currently some of the best players in the world.

What are some of your aspirations for the future?

I would love to get involved with the development of the sport of bowls in the future.

On a personal level, one of my biggest daily aspirations is to be happy.

Has it always been bowls, or have you ever played any other sports competitively?

I’ve played a lot of other sports over the years. During high school I was involved in golf, dance, soccer and bowls pretty concurrently.

Nowadays my focus is on bowls and my yoga practice. That is another aspiration, I would love to be a yogi. I think my yoga helps with my focus on the bowls greens.

Even though it does have the traditional gender divide of men’s bowls and women’s bowls, it is one of the few sports that at an elite competitive level, such as the BPL, that has mixed gender teams. What benefits does a mixed gender team have?

You get different team dynamics with mixed gender teams, it changes up the normal teams you see competing. You can often see the same people in same teams across a number of competitions. It’s great to see some different combinations. Women bring a better communication factor and a different point of view. They also bring a little bit of flair and style.

You work, play bowls at a competitive level and are raising a family. How do you balance all those competing commitments?

Sometimes I don’t, I think it’s pretty common in the busyness of life today to feel the occasional sense of overwhelm. I’m very lucky to have such a supportive workplace in Club Helensvale, and a supportive family, which all helps me to be able to do what I do.

My kids are all also now at an age where everyone helps out and pitches in. I definitely took on less when they were younger.

Who is someone you admire and why?

My sporting hero is Serena Williams. I love her grit and determination and she is my favourite sportsperson to watch compete.

My mum is also such an inspiration to me. She has seen so many changes over her lifetime and taken it all in her stride and achieved so much with all the different things she’s experienced and been through.

What is something interesting about you that we might not know?

I am a vegan and it is something I’m really passionate about. I was inspired by my massage therapy teacher a few years ago to become vegan. Now my partner and whole family is vegan as well.

Do you think celebrating International Women’s Day is important and why?

International Women’s Day is a really important day to me, one that I always mark and encourage my children each year to send notes to the inspiring women in their lives. We’ve come such a long way in a very short time, historically speaking, in regards to equal rights. It wasn’t that long ago women didn’t have the right to vote. I think it’s important to acknowledge how far we’ve come and to celebrate it.

The Australian Open was held on the Gold Coast again for the fourth successive year and was a resounding success. Known as the World’s Biggest Bowls Festival, it was fantastic to see another big bowls sporting event here on the Gold Coast so soon after the Commonwealth Games. With $250,000 in prize money there was a world class field of competitors rolling up. We held  a number of the Open events here on Club Helensvale greens from the 9th through to the 20th June and it was great to see both old and new faces frequenting the club.

A massive thank you must be extended to over fifty of our hard working and helpful club members who volunteered their time throughout the event to ensure the bowls side of the tournament ran smoothly – your assistance was invaluable. Thanks also to our management and staff for their warm and welcoming hospitality. When I was speaking to players around the bowls circuit, everyone was extremely complimentary of our greens, volunteers, and our club facilities, with most players wishing they could have more matches at Club Helensvale! Well done to all involved.

With many of our members competing in the event, we had much success on the greens as well. Nathan Rice and his team (Ryan Burnett, Jeremy Henry, and Alex Marshall) secured the Gold Medal in the men’s fours after defeating fellow Hawks Aron Sherriff, Jayden Christie and their team (Barrie Lester and Josh Thornton) on the last bowl of the match – one of the best quality finals in Australian Open history. Our young junior Jessie Cottell also secured a Gold Medal in the Girls U18 Singles event, defeating fellow Queenslander Rebecca Rixon 21 – 14. Some other notable performances were that of Ted Read and Allan Cumberford who made it to the semi final of the men’s over 60 pairs, and Shane Kerr who made the quarter final of the multi disability singles event.

Well done to all our members who won events, but also to those that were out there competing and giving it their best on the day. It was great to see so many Hawks shirts at all the different clubs around the Coast.