Local lawn bowler set to take on the world

Tsawwassen’s Pricilla Westlake will be competing in China next month as part of the Canadian national lawn bowling team.   - Robert Mangelsdorf photo
Tsawwassen’s Pricilla Westlake will be competing in China next month as part of the Canadian national lawn bowling team.
— image credit: Robert Mangelsdorf photo

Tsawwassen’s Pricilla Westlake is going places, and the sport of lawn bowling is taking her there.

The local teen and Kwantlen Polytechnic University student is off to China next month where she will be competing at a pair of international tournaments as part of Team Canada. Before she heads overseas, however, Westlake is bound for Florida later this month where she’ll have a shot at making the national team heading to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, one of lawn bowling’s biggest competitions.

“I didn’t think I’d be near the world level for another 10 years,” she says.

This is Westlake’s first season at the senior level, having only picked up the sport in 2009. She hasn’t wasted any time filling her mantle with an impressive array of hardware, with a pair of B.C. junior gold medals, as well as the 2013 national junior title.

Westlake said her goal now is to compete at the Lawn Bowling World Championships within the next five years.

“When I got accepted [to the national team], it really accelerated everything,” she says.

While Westlake grew up playing competitive softball and soccer like many of her friends, she says lawn bowling gave her the chance play a sport at a world-class level, and see the world.

“I met [Canadian national team lawn bowler] Steven Santana about four years ago at a tournament, and he told about how he’s travelled around the world with Team Canada,” says Westlake. “That’s when I said to myself, I want to do that.”

Of course, it helps that she loves the sport.

“When you start to understand the complexity of the game, it becomes more fun,” says Westlake. “It’s a simple game to learn and difficult to master.”

While Westlake will be a member of Team Canada for upcoming the overseas trip, she still has to cover all her own expenses.

In recent weeks, she has received travel grants from Bowls Canada, the Vancouver District Lawn Bowling Association, the B.C. Lawn Bowling Association, and from the Tsawwassen Lawn Bowling Club.

“I’m so thankful for all the support everyone has given me,” said Westlake. “There’s been so many people who have helped me. It’s been tremendous.”

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