Disability champ says Australian Open a huge event for Para-sport
Two-time Australian Open Physical Disability champ James Reynolds says the Australian Open (AO) is the most diverse bowls event the nation has to offer. Two-time Australian Open Physical Disability champ James Reynolds says the Australian Open (AO) is the most diverse bowls event the nation has to offer.
The now Canberra-based 37-year-old won the Multi-disability pairs with Josh Thornton (VIC) in 2015 and last year the singles, adding to his coveted collection of accolades.
Reynolds is a distinguished Australian international, having represented the Jackaroos at the (2014) Commonwealth Games, and more recently at the 2017 Multi-Nations and Trans Tasman Test Series.
He says the AO is on par with the biggest events he’s played in.
“It’s in such an amazing area particularly at that time of year. It’s a great place to play bowls and take a break from our normal lives,” he said.
“The greens are very good on the Gold Coast which is obviously a big bonus.
“It’s also a great opportunity for those who wish to mix it with the best in the able-bodied and disability disciplines.
“If you look at the quality of players that compete, you have to say it’s our strongest national event.
“You only have to look at Joshua Thornton and what he achieved last year in the open category to show the disability discipline is as strong.”
Having been involved in the sport for over 25 years, Reynolds says the sport has come on in leaps and bounds, particularly in the disability game.
In comparing the opportunities for the disabled bowler from when he first took up the sport to now, Reynolds was full of praise for his colleagues in para-sport.
“The age bracket has continued to lower, particularly in the representative teams,” he said.
“The quality of the disability side of bowls has improved enormously.
“There are now a dozen, two dozen players in Australia who all play a minimum of Division 1 pennant.
“A big part of that is thanks to the big opportunities that Bowls Australia (BA) and Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) has given disability bowlers as a pathway to represent your country.
“International competition means zero on paper but we certainly have the players to achieve what they deserve.”
Over 2,000 bowlers from across Australia, and indeed the world are expected to attend again, with entry being completely open to any registered bowler!
Not only is the AO the World’s Biggest Bowls Festival, it is also the richest bowls event in the world with a staggering total of over $250,000 prize money across more than 780 prize money placings in the 16 disciplines.
Bowlers can enter any one of the open disciplines on offer (singles, pairs and fours) or enter age-specific Under-18, Over-60s or Bowlers with a Disability events – for a full breakdown of the disciplines head to australianopen.bowlsaustralia.com.au!
Click here to enter in the 2018 AO! Entries close April 15