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Wagga Wagga to host 2010 NSW Open
One of the nation's most coveted lawn bowls tournaments, the 2010 NSW Open, will be staged in Wagga Wagga after the city secured the rights to host the $30,000 grand prix earlier today (19/7).
Following months of negotiations with Wagga Wagga City Council, Bowls Australia confirmed the event would be staged outside of its traditional Sydney base for the first time, with Wagga Wagga RSL Club joining forces with Wagga Wagga Women's Bowling Club to conduct the six day event from November 28 to December 3.
Featuring singles, pairs and triples for both men and women, the fifth and final grand prix for the year will also double as a qualifier for the 2011 Australian Open, the southern hemisphere's biggest and most lucrative event.
Over the years, the NSW Open has attracted the game's biggest names, with Australian superstars Kelsey Cottrell (world number five), Karen Murphy (world number six) and Aron Sherriff (world number seven), along with international heavyweights Neil Burkett (South Africa), David Holt (England) and Kay Moran (Scotland) among those who have lifted the silverware.
Once again, the event will be telecast across the nation on ABC TV and Fox Sports.
Following today's announcement, Wagga Wagga RSL chief executive officer Andrew Bell said the club was looking forward to hosting one of the nation's premier events.
"We're looking forward to what should be a great tournament," Mr Bell said.
"We'll work extremely closely with the Women's Club, who will also do a fantastic job hosting, but it's great news for the city of Wagga as a whole.
"The entire bowls community is very excited."
With close to 500 entries expected, the NSW Open will also mark the first grand prix on Australian soil following the XIX Commonwealth Games in October, with the Delhi medallists poised to receive an open invitation to attend.
Mayor of Wagga Wagga Kerry Pascoe said the event was a coup for the region.
"The confirmation that the City of Wagga Wagga, Wagga Wagga RSL and Wagga Women's Bowling Club has secured the rights to host this prestigious event is the result of a long running campaign by Wagga Wagga City Council and we couldn't be happier with the news," Mayor Pascoe said.
"The event will showcase the city to the many participants and attendees, as well as a national audience via television rights, and I am sure Wagga Wagga will be the perfect host."
Qualifying will be staged in the lead up to the tournament, with the first two days of the competition to be split between the RSL and Women's clubs before reverting to the former for the final four including the TV matches.
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Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo