Australia’s number one ranked male bowler Barrie Lester first tasted Commonwealth Games competition in Melbourne, 2006.
After a bronze medal in the pairs in Australia’s most successful Games ever, one would think the then 24-year-old Lester would have become a staple in the Jackaroos team to feature in the multiple Commonwealth Games to come.
After not being in contention in 2010 and narrowly missing out on selection in 2014, the 35-year-old has returned to the top of his game and will compete in his first Games in 12-years on the Gold Coast next year.
“I must admit, after 2006 I wanted to know will I ever play another Commonwealth Games because you’re never guaranteed. I wasn’t in contention in 2010 but then I was right in the mix for 2014,” he said.
“Here I am 12 years on… Great memories in 2006 with the bronze medal. I remember we just fell short to England for the gold medal match.
“[We have] two bites of the cherry come Gold Coast 2018 and hopefully we’re in the mix for winning at least one gold, if not two.”
Lester heralded his support network and the mountains of hard work put in by himself and those around him for his selection in the squad, an emotional one at that.
“I just want to celebrate with all my friends and family. The ones who have helped me get to where I am now,” he said.
“It’s been a long journey really. 2006 Commonwealth Games… great memories. But since then there’s been a lot of ups and downs, a lot of hard work and training.
“Without the people I surround myself with… My club Mulgrave Country club… Playing the last three years winter pennant at South Tweed Sharks… And just the whole Bowls Australia High Performance team have been brilliant.”
Australia’s Male Bowler of the Year in 2016/17, Lester has had a super year at national level, winning gold in the pairs at the 2017 Australian Open and Gold Coast Multi-Nations, and bronze in the singles at the Multi-Nations also.
Lester will also again link up with great mate Nathan Rice, whom he won bronze with at Melbourne 2006.
“January 1 this year I set out a whole a new motto, a whole new game-plan [for myself]. I looked at all the events I wanted to play in and wrote down all my goals. Then I wrote down how I’m going to achieve them and what is required,” he said.
“How many hours in the gym? How many hours on the training track? Where do I have to play and what do I need to compete in? So to get a lot of results which I have is an absolute bonus.”
“This (Gold Coast 2018 squad selection)is the biggest reward of them all to mirror my hard work and all the effort I’ve put in.”
The Australian Bowls Team will take to the Broadbeach greens from April 5 for their GC2018 campaign, where 10 gold medals will be up for grabs.