World bowls set for 'highest ever viewing figures' as go-ahead confirmed

Potters Resort is opening its indoor pool and "some indoor sporting activities" come July 25. Pictur

John Potter has confirmed world bowls will be unaffected by the latest lockdown announcement delivered on January 4 ahead of the start of the competition on January 8 - Credit: Nick Butcher

World bowls is set to go ahead in Norfolk under strict new lockdown rules which allow for elite sport.

Potters Resort in Hopton confirmed it intended to stage the World Indoor Bowls Championship behind closed doors.

The competition is due to start on Friday (January 8)

New rules announced by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday night allow for elite sport to continue under tough new restrictions which carry a general "stay at home" message as a new strain of the virus takes hold.

World Indoor Bowls at Potters

Crowds at a previous men's final at Potter's Resort. In 2021 the stands will be empty due to the coronavirus pandemic. - Credit: Jamie Honeywood

Managing director John Potter said plans for the Just 2021 tournament were unaffected by the announcement.

He said: "Elite sport carries on behind closed doors as was the plan before lockdown.

"So no change for the world bowls plans as a result of lockdown.

"We are using testing on resort and looking forward to safely hosting the biggest bowling event in the world that will likely showcase the sport to what will be the highest ever viewing figures online and on the BBC as everyone stays safe at home to save lives and the NHS."

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Normally some 20,000 spectators attend the event at what has become known as "the home of bowls."

Previously Mr Potter had stated: "It's as safe as it gets with just the two or four players in a seriously big room, often 20 or even 40 metres apart with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of mechanical ventilations systems turning the air - and not too much excessive heavy breathing."

Bringing the tournament to Norfolk was the brainchild of Potters Resort's chairman and tourism innovator Brian Potter, who passed away in November 2014.

The 17-day Just 2021 Indoor Bowls Championship gets underway on January 8.

It can be viewed live online across social channels and YouTube.

Matches are broadcast live on the BBC for the final week.