Oldest bowler makes history
Ken Hanson has become Australia’s oldest ever gold medal winner at a Commonwealth Games after making his debut at the spritely age of 68.
The Australian team of Hanson, Tony Bonnell and Josh Thornton held off a spirited fightback from New Zealand to win gold in the Open B6/B7/B8 Triples at Broadbeach Bowls Club.
New Zealand came from 10-3 down to narrow Australia’s lead to a single shot going into the final end but, under pressure to avoid an extra end, Hanson delivered a stunning draw shot to seal gold for the host nation in a 14-13 victory.
It meant heartbreak once more for New Zealand, who were beaten by the last bowl by South Africa at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The South Africans had to settle for bronze this time around, beating England 16-13 in the bronze medal match.
The previous record for Australia’s oldest gold medal winner sat with fellow Australian lawn bowler Dorothy Roche, who was 61 years and 10 months when she won Gold as part of the women's fours at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland.
"I admit I feel like I'm 78, but happy to be a gold medallist at any age," Hanson said of his achievement.
A former tennis player, Hanson didn’t take up lawn bowls until he moved to the Victorian town of Colac in 1985. Being born without his left arm, he didn’t play disability bowls until a friend suggested it in 2017.
“A lot of things had to go right for me to make this trip to join the Commonwealth Games team,” Hanson said of joining the Jackaroos para team.
Teammate Thornton was also excited to be a gold medal winner.
"[It’s] pretty amazing. The guys played really well today. Kenny (Hanson) in particular. We played some really big bowls when it mattered. Probably the best feeling in the world right now."