by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Bowls In Focus : November 2011
Bowls In Focus 23 she contracted polio. And while Julius and Becky and her grand parents worked hard and successfully at her rehabilitation, she still had to wear ugly corrective boots, which did not match her party frocks or the pretty party shoes worn by other children at the time. While some kids may have shrunk from this situation, Denese took it head on, then and there deciding she would be a pretty girl. Early photographs show she did indeed turn into a beauty of the early 1960’s, even when surrounded by three small children and dressed in regulation bowls uniform of the day. “I have photos of myself in which I look like a Barbie Doll, what a hoot,” she laughed. But much of Denese’s beauty did and still does radiate from within and she has always been a person that throws her weight behind things, whether it was Gersh’s dental practice or the Union for Jewish Women. Perhaps her next frightening time was facing those cookbooks and the intricate food preparation for a family of vegetarians, but decidedly the worst was the bridge disaster at the opening of the 1997 Maccabiah Games in Israel. It was the second time that Denese had represented Australia at these games and was a family affair as her niece Bianca Katz was captain of the Australian junior netball team. At the start of the Games, teams had to cross a river to the opening ceremony and as the Australian team started to cross, the purpose- built bridge collapsed. Three Australians died, one a bowler Warren Zines, and many were injured. “I went into the river and said to myself ‘you’ll be alright, you mustn’t swallow water or you will drown, but you will come to the top and you can swim’. However, I couldn’t come up because there were bodies on top of me. “I curled up and said ‘conserve your energy someone will rescue you’ and they did. There was pandemonium all around, but for me there was just darkness and silence.” Pulled from the water with broken ribs Denese had only one thing on her mind, young Bianca, who also went down with the bridge, so she searched the hospitals until she found her alive, but nursing a broken angle. Despite physical and emotional trauma, the Australian team decided to play on and she and teammates Jill Diamond, Pam Morley and Fay Rubenstein went on to win gold and bronze in the triples and fours. But perhaps the Australian Sports Medal, awarded in 2000, was the hardest win for Denese as her skip, mentor, greatest fan and mother Becky Katz died a week before she knew she had been awarded it. Winning the Australian Sports medal, and later receiving the Commonwealth Achievement Award as both a team member and individual player, means the popular bowls diva is no slouch at the game and is a person who gets involved with her sport. She has been a member of the Board of Directors at Glen Eira McKinnon Bowls Club and also a selector. The consummate team player, she is generous with her talent and advice, while as an accredited coach says she loves every minute of helping others. “I enjoy motivating people and helping new bowlers to correct little faults like poor stance, wrong grip and not following through with their hand correctly. It’s wonderful to see how appreciative they are once the problem has been fixed,” she said. Her majors started as a member of the City of St Kilda winning side in A1 Metropolitan pennant the year she arrived in Australia, and from there she did not look back winning a string of Masters titles, sometimes with Becky at the helm and sometimes by herself. Throughout her career her younger sister Gail has never been far away, either in the same team or as lead in pairs. They won the state pairs in 2002 and 2006, while Denese also has the 2005 state fours to her credit; has won the Australian fours; three national pairs titles with Mary-Anne Spizer and been a member of a winning Victorian team at the AWBA Round Robin Series. She first represented Victoria in 1993 and played for the state every year until the end of 2005. But last month she was back in state livery again in the Australian Senior Sides Championship at Warilla, and while Victoria were just pipped, she says it was the greatest time she and her teammates have had for a long time. Her five representations at Warilla brought her tally of state games to 150. “It was wonderful to be out on the green with a group of proven champions and outstanding people who have all been significant achievers during their careers and are still fine players. I hope I am lucky enough to be selected again next year, it was a great honour,” she added. Denese has played pennant since 1987 at the City of St Kilda, Glen Eira and Glen Eira McKinnon clubs, while this season she transferred to Armadale in order to play women-only pennant. With a record such as hers, needless to say there have been a lot of trophies, some of which are on display in her home. But which one has the pride of place? You’ve guessed it, the Under-12 School Tennis Championship. - D i Gatehouse Diva’s Golden Milestone • Above: Early days at City of St Kilda: sister Gail Nadelman, mother Becky Katz and Denese. • Left: ‘Barbie Doll’ Denese – what a hoot! • Below: VLBA president Joyce Larkin congratulates Denese on her 100th state appearance, against ACT in 2002