Cottrell desperate to secure Aus’ first women’s singles gold

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Australian lawn bowls whiz Kelsey Cottrell wants her sport at the Olympics, but her immediate focus is on burying the demons of Delhi and winning Commonwealth Games gold, as Jon Tuxworth reports for the Canberra Times . Queenslander Cottrell, 23 and who now lives in Canberra, is looking to create history by becoming the first Australian to win the women’s singles title since it was introduced in 1982. Cottrell first represented Australia when she was 15 and is unsure whether she will play on after Glasgow or pursue a career in journalism. For now, her only aim is to atone for 2010, where she had to settle for bronze after losing her only match of the tournament in the semi-finals. “I feel like I have a point to prove and go one better,” Cottrell said. “I’m pretty thrilled to be given a second chance, that doesn’t happen all the time. For bowls the Commonwealth Games is definitely the most prestigious. It’s the one where we go away and feel like part of an Australian team. “It’s a pretty cool experience, going to breakfast and seeing someone you’ve watched on TV for years in one of your other favourite sports.” Cottrell will also play triples and is one of the big favourites for the singles crown. She believes the continued international growth of the sport should make it a legitimate contender for Olympic inclusion. “That would be awesome. While it may not have the physical demands the other sports do, mentally and tactically it’s one of the hardest sports to play,” she said. “When I watch the Olympics sometimes I think ‘how is that an Olympic sport?’, but each sport has its different qualities. Hopefully it will get some good coverage [at the Commonwealth Games], and people will see how difficult it is and how skillful you have to be to play. I hope it makes the Olympics one day, but it might not be in my time.” Cottrell is one of the big favourites for the women’s singles crown. She rates herself an underdog, although she is confident she can handle Scotland’s slower greens after winning the prestigious Champion of Champions title there in 2009. “That’s probably the one thing I’m holding on to, I know I can win and pull off an upset over there,” she said. “I’ve played on the greens before and been successful, that’s really going to help. We’ve been practicing at a club in Melbourne which has stopped being maintained and has that slow standard of Scotland. “The northern hemisphere teams play on those greens all the time, it’s their backyard and we’re up against it. Aussies have good fighting spirit, we can’t be written off and I think we’re every chance of pulling off an upset.”