Biased towards Games
World-ranked bowler Brett Wilkie says the Commonwealth Games are the be-all and end-all of his sport, Terry Wilson reports for the Gold Coast Bulletin . One of three Helensvale club mates in the Australian team at Glasgow, Wilkie says that because lawn bowls is not on the Olympics roster, the Commonwealth Games are the ultimate, even better than world championships. “The worlds are sort of like our Olympics of bowls but this is the big event that everyone looks forward to because you’re part of the whole Australian contingent with all the other athletes,” he said. “This is probably the pinnacle for us really. While it is great to win a world title, this is a whole different dynamic of being involved with the other athletes and sampling the atmosphere of the village.” Wilkie has been joined in Scotland by Helensvale club mates Nathan Rice and Lynsey Clarke, the captain of the Australian bowls team. All three have represented Australia at previous Games but they can feel something special in having a chance to win two medals for the first time. This year there are five-member teams in men’s and women’s competition. Each bowler features in two disciplines out of singles, pairs, triples and fours – so there is the lure of double gold medals. “It’s pretty exciting having two bites of the cherry,” said Clarke, who won Games gold in Melbourne in 2006 playing alongside Karen Murphy in pairs. This time Clarke is in the fours and the triples, the latter part of a potent team featuring Murphy and singles rep Kelsey Cottrell, who was formerly based on the Gold Coast. Rice, who won bronze in pairs in Melbourne, said the Commonwealth Games had no rival in terms of prestige. “If you want to win anything, this is it,” he said. “For me this is above the worlds. It is just the village and everything, being part of the team, the opening ceremony. It’s just a buzz.” The Australians arrived 10 days early to adjust to the slower Scottish greens, but they have put in a mountain of practice in the lead-up. Clarke said they trained on heavy tracks, with the Coast trio using a special gateball green at the Gold Coast lawn club in between trips to Melbourne. “We don’t have a fear or problem with slow tracks now because we’ve been training for the past 18 months on them,” Clarke said. Caption: Helensvale’s Brett Wilkie, Lynsey Clarke and Nathan Rice will leave nothing to chance at the Commonwealth Games.