Spot at Games is in the air

October 11, 2017

East Shepparton bowls coach Josh Thornton is pushing for Commonwealth Games selection.

A maiden Commonwealth Games berth is within Josh Thornton’s grasp.

After securing selection for the last international tournament before next year’s Gold Coast Games, Thornton knows he must simply continue to perform to a high standard and his dream will be realised.

‘‘I’m happy, it’s probably a big tick there in terms of playing the last Trans Tasman before the Games,’’ he said.

‘‘Historically it means you’re safe if you keep up your form.

‘‘I felt like I had a good week last week (at an Australian training camp), but it was always about more than that, my Australian Open (pairs) win really helped I think.’’

East Shepparton’s coach will once again line up for Australia’s para-sport athletes with a disability triples team at Broadbeach Bowling Club in a Trans Tasman Test Series after making his international debut in similar circumstances in June.

Unlike the open Jackaroos squads, where more than the required number of bowlers have gained selection for the November 10 to 12 tournament, the para-sport teams are at exactly capacity.

But rather than put more pressure on him, Thornton believes the confidence shown by the selectors is refreshing.

‘‘If anything for me it’s an actual pressure release,’’ he said.

‘‘While others are there competing for your spot and subbing in and out you have to perform every single game.

‘‘But now I can just go out there and enjoy my bowls and enjoy playing well and know that I don’t have to be perfect every game, even though I obviously still want to play well and win games.’’

Thornton has been working hard on his fitness levels since first tasting action in the international arena, and feels his increased strength and endurance has helped him retain his place at the highest level.

‘‘FIX (FIX Muscle Performance) have been sponsoring me since June, I’ve been doing pilates and core exercises and I’ve lost 5kg since the Aussie Open,’’ he said.

‘‘Cher (Hetherington) has helped me get a lot stronger and a lot fitter.’’

With the Goulburn Valley Bowls Division season looming quickly on the horizon Thornton has been on the greens almost non-stop in preparation, and will be hoping to keep his remarkable form going for a while longer yet.

‘‘The guys at East Shepparton have been nothing but supportive, not only in backing me as coach but letting me chase my dreams,’’ he said.

‘‘Any time you get to pull on the green and gold is an honour and a thrill, and I’m looking forward to it.

‘‘Hopefully I can play well and secure a place for the Commonwealth Games.’’

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