Bester Claims Gold at the 2023 World Championships

Canada’s Ryan Bester has won the Men’s Singles discipline at the 2023 World Championships in Gold Coast, Australia.


Photo courtesy of Sporting Highlights

Ryan Bester (Hanover, ON) started off the Singles event by defeating Sweden (21-6), Papua New Guinea (21-14), and Sri Lanka (21-2) before picking up his first loss against England (17-21). He quickly rebounded by defeating Japan (21-13), Cyprus (21-3), South Africa (21-17), Botswana (21-5), Zimbabwe (21-9) and Singapore (21-9) to finish the round robin with a record of 9-1.

In the quarterfinals, Bester faced off against Malaysia’s Izzat Shameer Dzulkeple. The Malaysian hadn’t lost a game in his section, going a perfect 9-0 before running into the Canadian. Bester handed him his first loss with a final score of 21-14 to advance to the semifinals. In the semis, Scotland’s Iain McLean was waiting. McLean and Bester previously faced off in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where McLean won handily 21-4. This time around, Bester would have his revenge and defeated the Scot 21-14 to advance to the finals.

For Bester, this would be yet another finals appearance in the men’s singles discipline for him after making it to the final round at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and 2018, as well as the World Championships in 2012 and 2016. In all of those previous appearances, Bester walked away with the silver medal, but that would change in 2023.

In the finals, Bester faced Ireland’s Gary Kelly; Kelly and his partner knocked out Bester and John Bezear in the semifinals of the Men’s Pairs several days prior. The revenge match would be a fierce battle in the contest to 21 shots. The first half of the match was close throughout, with Kelly never able to take more than a 3-shot lead. Once Bester clawed back to make it 13-13, Kelly stormed ahead to 16-13, finding himself within 5 of the finish line. Bester, known as the “Master Blaster” came alive with a crucial weighted shot to turn the tide of the game. The Canadian never looked back at that point, scoring back-to-back-to-back two’s, to make it 19-16 in his favour. Kelly tried to make a game of it, but Bester’s drive was too good and he creeped closer to make it 20-16. The Hanover-native could smell blood at this point, putting three bowls within 5 inches of the jack. A final miss from Kelly, secured Ryan Bester’s first Singles World Championship title.

Event Recap

Photo courtesy of Sporting Highlights

After two long weeks on the Gold Coast, Canada will return home with 1 gold medal, 1 silver medal, and 2 bronze medals.

Kelly McKerihen (Toronto, ON) made it to the finals in the women’s singles, where she fell to New Zealand 18-21 to secure the silver.

Ryan Bester and John Bezear (Kitchener, ON) made it to the semifinals in the men’s pairs where Ireland’s Kelly and Adam McKeown defeated them 6-22. At the World Championships, both teams that lose in the semifinals automatically get a bronze medal, so Bester and Bezear secured a bronze for Canada.

Emma Boyd (Delta, BC), Baylee van Steijn (Gore’s Landing, ON), and Joanna Cooper (Calgary, AB) also made it to the semifinals in the women’s triples. New Zealand had their number, with the Canadians falling by a score of 9-20.

The 4-medal haul is one of the best showings by Canada at the World Championships in recent years. This showing is a wonderful retirement gift for national team head coach, Terry Scott. Scott spent more than 6 years at the helm of Canada’s national team program and is retiring this fall. Alberta’s Derek Dillon will be taking over as the next head coach, and will look to build upon the success shown at the 2023 World Championships.

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About Bowls Canada Boulingrin
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About 2023 World Bowls Championships
The 2023 World Bowls Championships will take place on the Gold Coast, Queensland from August 29 – September 10. The event will be held at the Broadbeach Bowls Club, Musgrave Hill Bowls Club, Club Helensvale, Mudgeeraba Bowls Club and Paradise Point Bowls Club.  The World Bowls Championships are held every two years, and feature men’s and women’s singles, pairs, triples, and fours.