Lawn bowlers play with home green advantage
They may be representing Canada and New Zealand, but some athletes will be competing with the advantage of extensive local knowledge heading into the Lawn Bowls competition at GC2018.
Canada's Ryan Bester is greens director at the GC2018 Lawn Bowls venue, Broadbeach Bowls Club, and has spent many months preparing the field of play he and other world-class athletes will put to the test in a matter of days.
"The greens have come up well and can be expected to be a bit quicker," he said.
The 33-year-old moved to the Gold Coast six years ago to challenge himself against the world's best.
"I topped the Australian rankings for two consecutive years (2016-2017) and it’s the hardest place in the world to do this," Bester said.
He rates Australian Aaron Wilson as his biggest threat for gold.
Bester begins his GC2018 campaign in the men's pairs with Ryan Stadnyk on Thursday 5 April, before taking on the singles competition from Monday 9 April. It will be his fifth Commonwealth Games appearance.
Fellow Canadian Kelly McKerihen moved to Australia in late 2015 to get more time on the green, as the bowls season in Canada is often restricted to just three or four months due to snow.
"If you are lucky, you can start (bowling) at the beginning of May through to our championships in the third week of August, but usually after that you have to dig your way out of the snow," she said.
The Canadians aren't the only lawn bowlers who have called Australia home ahead of the Games.
The 22-year-old lives two blocks from Broadbeach Bowls Club and made the move across the Tasman especially for the competition, her first Commonwealth Games appearance.
"I came here to gain experience of the greens," she said.
"It's cool, I can share my knowledge with everyone else in the team.
"It does feel a bit like home. It's nice to come to a familiar place where we have been training. It's a bit more relaxing.
"[Teammate] Jo Edwards lives in Brisbane now and Shannon McIlroy comes over from Hamilton each weekend to play."
You could be part of the action at Broadbeach Bowls Club. Snap up your Lawn Bowls tickets now.