Leading Warilla bowler Chris Smith says representing his native Tonga in the inaugural Oceania Challenge in New Zealand is the biggest moment of his career.
The multiple Zone 16 champion will be supported by a host of extended family at the 10-nation event in Auckland from April 14-17.
''To represent Tonga is a massive honour - I can't wait,'' Smith said.
''Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would happen. Basically back-to-back international events and the chance to represent my dad's heritage is something very special.''
Born in New Zealand, Smith was alerted to the opportunity to represent Tonga by Tongan star Paris Baker at last year's Australian Open.
Almost 12 months of formalities later and Smith will play Men's Singles and Pairs at the Oceania Challenge - a new event promoting bowls in the Pacific region and featuring eight Pacific nations including Fiji, Samoa and PNG, plus a Maori and New Zealand Under 26s team.
The tournament pits teams of five men and five women playing all four disciplines with Smith to partner Ben King in Pairs.
Smith and Melbourne-based Pearl Bartlett are the only non Kiwi-based Tongan bowlers in the team, which should be one of the leading contenders.
Smith has been working hard on and off the green with the fitness support of Dale and Rhenelle Fritz and F45 Training Corrimal and Bulli, ensuring he's in peak health for his international debut.
Meanwhile, Smith and Milika Nathan will feature in the second edition of the World Bowls Indoor Championships next month, with the inaugural event in Bristol, England in 2022.
The event features men's and women's Singles, plus Mixed Pairs all played on the indoor carpet at Warilla.
''To represent Tonga on that kind of stage is going to be amazing,'' Smith said.
The inaugural World Bowls Indoor Championships was dominated by Scotland with Michael Stepney heading to Warilla to defend his men's title and joined by Julie Forrest, the defending women's champion.
Joining Sherriff and Stepney as major contenders for the Men's Singles will be Wales' Daniel Salmon the back-to-back Commonwealth Games Men's Pairs gold medallist, plus England's Martin Puckett, Ireland's John Nicholl and New Zealander Andrew Kelly.
The women's field is packed with talent including Commonwealth Games gold medallist Shae Wilson (Norfolk Island), while Guernsey's Alison Merrien, South African Colleen Piketh and Dee McSparran (USA) have plenty of experience playing at Warilla.
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