From Morwell to Monaco

World stage: Local bocce players Tom Campbell and Kayla Dukes recently returned home from Monaco after representing Australia. Photograph supplied




LITTLE old Morwell continues to be represented on the bocce world stage.

Youngster Kayla Dukes recently returned home from Monaco after representing Australian at the Denis Ravera International Junior Bocce Challenge.

Kayla, who trains at Italian Australian Club Morwell, took to the international courts in the under 23 category, competing in doubles.

Partnering with Melissa Danelutti of New South Wales, the Australian pair found strong competition from European countries, with Kayla noting France were especially formidable opponents.

“France were really good, so was Croatia,” Kayla said.

“They have more players, about double what Australia does.

“We didn’t win but we versed France first who are the top team, they are pretty hard to beat, we only lost by two, we were happy to only lose by that much, it was a really good game that we played.

“It was tough but it was a good experience.”

Despite the results, Kayla and fellow Italian Australian Club teammate Tom Campbell, found plenty of wins in other respects, with tournament officials commending the team on their excellent sportsmanship.

For Kayla, the trip provided many highlights, not least the fact it was her first time overseas.

The 16-year-old visited family in Italy before heading over to Monaco, something see described as “unreal”.

Conditions in Monaco lent themselves to pleasant bocce, with Kayla working alongside a few familiar faces, including Italian Australian Club’s Frank Fava and his daughter Sonia Fava in her role as Bocce Australia Sports Development Director.

“It was really cool to see everyone, especially because lots of different countries play differently so it was good to see how they play,” Kayla said.

“Just seeing everyone from the other states, it was really nice to see them all, the view from the courts was so pretty.”

In layman’s terms, Kayla took part in ‘normal bocce’, over a couple of days of competition, with family keeping a close eye on things, watching matches via livestream.

Kayla wished to thank all who have supported her in her bocce journey so far, and encouraged others to try their hand at the niece sport.

“It’s an unreal opportunity to have, I’m very grateful and very proud to represent Australia in bocce,” she said.

“I think anyone can do, it would be good for other people to at least give it a go and try.”

From here, Kayla aims to keep training, and hopefully gain selection for the same tournament next year.

Anyone interested in learning more about bocce is encouraged to phone the Italian Australian Club on 5134 3541.

Morwell is home to the Gippsland Bocce Centre – a facility rated by many bocce professionals as world standard.