Surgery clears way for Jordan’s bowls passion



By Candice Gollan

Raroa Intermediate student Jordan Keene has not let open heart surgery stop him from competing in indoor bowls, a sport which has enthralled generations of his family.

Jordan, 13, was born with a heart defect. In March this year, he underwent open heart surgery.

Just six months later, Jordan has launched his 2017 Anchor AIMS Games indoor bowls campaign with four straight wins to qualify for post-section today [Weds].

“I knew I would be able to compete in AIMS Games,” said Jordan. “I was back playing [indoor bowls] three or four weeks after [surgery].”

His mother Shelley Jacombs and step-father Mark Jacombs have both played for South Island teams. Jordan’s father, Alistair Keith, is also a former indoor bowler.

Although his favourite sport is rugby, Jordan’s parents encouraged him to play indoor bowls because it is a non-contact sport which would not put pressure on his heart.

New Zealand Indoor Bowls executive Trevor Rayner says Jordan has huge potential.

“He is a very serious young bowler,” Rayner says.

“If he keeps up the game he will go far.”

Indoor Bowls has been a part of the AIMS Games tournament since 2012, when there were just 75 competitors.

After two days of qualifying rounds, 113 out of 294 indoor bowlers have qualified to vie for the gold, silver and bronze medals in the singles.  Last year’s gold and silver medalists were not eligible for this year’s games after moving on to College, however, bronze medalist Wade Brunt from Ilminster Intermediate has returned and qualified today with three wins.
Other notable bowlers to watch for in post-section tomorrow are Jordan Keene from Raroa Intermediate and Nathan Trowell from Gisborne Intermediate.  Both of  these bowlers have been bowling for approximately 3 years and have lots of potential already playing for their districts Hutt Valley and Poverty Bay respectively at a higher level than the Aims Games.  Recently Jordan attended the New Zealand Indoor Bowls Junior Singles (under 18) in Wellington after winning this district competition and he finished a very notable third-equal.