A TALENTED visually-impaired bowls player and his team are battling on the green for medals in the biggest sporting event in his life – the World Championships in Australia.
Stephen Hartley, of Tavistock, was selected earlier this year for the para team bowls mixed pairs by Bowls England. It is the first time the governing body has chosen a para team for the world championships and sets him and others on the path for a potential Olympic place in Australia in Brisbane 2032.
So far, they are in medal contention having won their first game against Hong Kong, lost the second against South Africa, putting them in third place. Yesterday they beat New Zealand (in fourth) and drew against the home nation Australia.
Stephen said: "It was an uphill battle against Australia because we are playing on their home rinks and they have a massive loud crowd of supporters. We were close to beating South Africa. The draw against the Aussies has kept our medal hopes alive."
He and his team flew to Brisbane ten days ago: "There’s a good all round team spirit which is helping fighting off the nerves, so confidence at a high level for us all."
After this major event, his next ambition is to play in the Commonwealth Games in 2026 for Disability Bowls England, having only been playing the sport for only about four years, another potential step to the Olympics.
The tournament continues.