Australian para-sport bowler Josh Thornton has credited the disappointment of his and close friend Barrie Lester’s missing out on Glasgow 2014 as the catalyst to spark their inclusion in the squad for Gold Coast 2018 in the para-sport and men’s teams respectively.
The duo won Australian bowls fans’ hearts by taking out the pairs at this year’s Australian Open and have faced similar paths in the four-year journey to Gold Coast 2018.
“In terms of with Baz (Barrie Lester), we’ve shared this journey since 2014,” he said.
“We were both part of the process to go to Glasgow and both obviously missed out. We’ve used that disappointment to fuel us to get to where we are today.”
The 36-year-old who plays out of East Shepparton is one of four of the five para-sport athletes who will compete in their inaugural Games, an achievement that Thornton described as a “life-long dream fulfilled.”
“It’s amazing. To be picked for your country in anything is obviously an amazing accomplishment, but to do it at the Commonwealth Games in your home country, I probably don’t have words to explain it,” he said.
“With friends and family [present], it’s them getting to share the experience with you that will be special.”
Competition will be hot in the para-sport field but Thornton says recent strong performances by the Australians have them confident heading into the tournament.
“[Looking at] Trans-Tasman a month ago, New Zealand will have to be our main competition and we managed to get the win against them. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen [again], they’re going to be a tough team to beat. South Africa won in Glasgow and while I’ve never played against them, I assume they are going to be hard to beat also,” he said.
“Let’s face it, any of the teams that come out, they’re not going to send anyone who isn’t up to the level.”
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.