HE’S not called ‘discotheque’ for nothing and Friday night Bendigo bowler Aaron Wilson kick-started the party on the Gold Coast by celebrating his gold medal by tearing his shirt off and wowing a packed crowd at Broadbeach.
Wearing his lucky undies, the 26-year-old became just the third Australian to win the singles gold medal at the Commonwealth Games when he rallied from 6-8 down to beat Canadian Ryan Bester 21-14..
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A shirtless Wilson then ran around the green pumping his fists at the crowd before embracing Australian team officials including Kelvin Kerkow who won the title in 2006 and also ripped his shirt off in wild celebrations.
“It’s absolutely amazing representing Australia. It’s Australia’s medal — this is for Australia,” Wilson said.
“It (shirt) was just in the moment. Kelvin Kerkow ripped his shirt off a few years ago, back in 2006, (it was) just a copy of that.
“Something we’re trying to do is build the culture with Bowls Australia, and I think we’ve done that really well.
“Anyone wins, we celebrate, anyone loses we grieve for them, we’re all one team.”
Wilson’s victory eased some of the pain for Australia after its men’s fours lost a seemingly unlosable final to Scotland on the final end of their gold medal final earlier in the day.
He trailed 6-8 after end 10 then drew level at 8-8 two ends later, before making his move in the 13th when he produced a clutch final bowl to take three points and from there he had to hold his nerve.
Far from over-awed on his Commonwealth Games debut, Wilson extended his lead to 19-13 after end 20 and stormed to victory in front of a home crowd minutes later.
“It was going to be a tight game but it’s very exciting to get a gold medal for Australia, it’s absolutely awesome.
“I got behind really early, again just needed to get myself in the game, played a couple of good shots to get myself back into it and one thing led to another and got the final few shots.
“He (Bester) stuck with it all the time, he’s one of the best players in the world. He’s going to keep going at you and going at you, you just have to hang tough as long as you can, and I did it today and got the win.”
Wilson joins Kerkow (2006) and Rob Parrella (1990) as the only Australians to win the men’s singles at the Commonwealth Games and delivered Australia its second gold medal on an otherwise subdued day on the Coast.
He was introduced to bowls at the age of 11 by his brother and his previous career highlight was the men’s pairs world championship in 2016 and Australian Open singles crown in 2013.
Earlier Australia’s Commonwealth Games men’s fours lawn bowlers have been consoled by chef de mission Steve Monaghetti after going down to Scotland in heartbreaking circumstances in the gold medal match.
The former marathon runner was at Broadbeach Bowls Club to watch Scotland come from four points behind to snatch gold from Australia 15-13. And Australian skip Aron Sheriff says Moneghetti told him, Barrie Lester, Brett Wilkie and Nathan Rice they will be proud of a silver medal — in time.
“We just had a good chat from our chef de mission, he said that the team should cherish these medals and Australia are proud of us,” Sheriff said. “I suppose we just have to think of it like that and I’m sure our families and everyone involved are proud of our achievement.
“It’s a bit hard at the moment but second in the Commonwealth is pretty good.”