Slater takes aim at Rio Paralympics
A series of encouraging performances at the 2014 Commonwealth Games has ex-Victoria bowler Tim Slater on the radar of Australia’s top sporting scouts, as Michael Pollock reports for the Courier.
Slater, who suffers from cerebral palsy, returned from Glasgow with a wealth of experience and the knowledge that his future may lie in more than one sport.
Shortly after his return, the 22-year-old was approached by Australian Institute of Sport representatives interested in recruiting him for a ‘Para-sports Draft’.
Several intense testing sessions revealed an aptitude for para-cycling and shot put.
“I remember one of the physios telling me (in Glasgow) that the AIS was interested in recruiting me and at the time and I didn’t really think too much about it,” Slater said.
“Then I got an email about a month ago and it said to come along to the Essendon Football Club – I performed pretty well in the testing and impressed the coaches.”
Since moving to Melbourne for study, Slater has spent three days per week in training under a Victorian Institute of Sport scholarship.
He also plays for the Fitzroy Victoria Bowls Club in Melbourne’s division one pennant scene and is mentored by national standard bowler Todd Simmons.
“I’m getting fit as well to see if I can test selections for the Rio (de Janeiro) Paralympics,” Slater said.
“I want to finish off this season because bowls still comes first to me at the moment.
“I’m always going to play bowls, but the best thing about training for other sports is that any fitness is good fitness for bowls.”
He might not have had the most successful stint at Glasgow (failing to make the medal playoffs), but Slater has already set his sights on the 2018 Gold Coast-hosted edition.
“When I saw that the Games would be held on the Gold Coast in 2018, it lit a fire in the belly and I definitely thought that I’d like to go again,” he said. “If I can do well in other sports I’m still going to try for the 2018 Games.”
Slater hasn’t ruled out a return to Ballarat after recently speaking at the Ballarat Youth Awards.
He has nominated cycling as his first preference over shot put but acknowledges that the decision might not be his to make.
The professional sporting environment, he says, “is not about what you love, but it’s about what you’re best at”.
Caption: Tim Slater has one eye on the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics and the other on the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Picture: Justin Whitelock.