Queen’s Baton Relay for 2022 Commonwealth Games reaches the Gold Coast
The Queen’s Baton Relay rolled into the Broadbeach Bowls Club last month ahead of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, carried in by 1990 Commonwealth Games medallist Janelle Pallister and her daughter, a 2022 Games hopeful Lani Pallister. The swimming duo handed the baton to our 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medallists Tony Bonnell and Kelsey Cottrell.
The pair were honoured to be asked to represent bowls and the greater Australian sporting community; they posed for photos with the iconic GC2018 mascot Borobi, Australian Squash representatives, Deputy Gold Coast Mayor Donna Gates and a large contingent of Broadbeach Bowls Club members, many of whom were also reminiscing about their own personal Commonwealth Games experiences volunteering on home soil.
The Australian Lawn Bowls Team won five gold medals and two silver medals which was a record haul at a Commonwealth Games. Queenslanders Nathan Rice, Aron Sherriff, Brett Wilkie, Jake and Grant Fehlberg, Lynne and Bob Seymour and Tony Bonnell all took home medals from those games. Barrie Lester, who now calls Queensland home, was part of Channel 7’s coverage of the baton arriving in Queensland and got to hold the baton which is traveling across 72 nations and territories across the Commonwealth carrying the Queen’s message.
For Tony Bonnell, the prospect of winning back-to-back gold medals in the Para-Lawn Bowls event in Birmingham is strong, having just made the shortlist alongside his wife Serena Bonnell to tour the UK this May. Both Tony and Serena have been training diligently at the Tamborine Mountain Bowls Club on a green that has been prepared to mirror UK conditions.
On the other hand, the festivities of the Baton Relay for Kelsey Cottrell were very much about celebrating the success the Australian Lawn Bowls Team achieved in 2018, where she claimed a gold medal in the Fours with Carla Krizanic, Natasha Scott and Rebecca Van Asch, and, symbolically handing the baton over to the next generation of Australian Jackaroos having made herself unavailable for 2022 Commonwealth Games selection.
“It was a truly wonderful honour to be part of the Baton Relay alongside Tony; I have vivid memories of stopping mid-way through a training session at Broadbeach watch Brett Wilkie carry the Baton in the lead up to the Gold Coast Games. It was a goosebump moment with the whole team hovering around a phone to watch,” said Cottrell.
“The Commonwealth Games helps put bowls on the map; the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games was particularly instrumental in showcasing just how awesome and entertaining our sport is and I think having the Commonwealth Games Association select the bowls venue to film the Baton’s visit to the Gold Coast shows how memorable bowls, and the bowlers were when we competed here 4 years ago!
“The sport has wonderful young ambassadors coming through the ranks and some of them will get to live out their dreams putting on the green and gold in Birmingham and I’ll be happily at home with my family tuning into every bowls match possible at all hours of the night cheering them on!”
Cottrell remains part of the Australian Jackaroos Squad and has her eyes on World Championship Gold on the Gold Coast in 2023.
“It did make the decision just that tad easier knowing there is a short turn around to the next World Championships and I think with a bit of extra time and being closer to home, it will be easier to juggle the commitment required to the team and also my beautiful young little family.
“I hope no young female bowlers see my decision to step aside as a deterrent; you can certainly manage work, study, family and a bowls career, but everyone’s journey as a mum and an athlete is different and your priorities will continue to chop and change.”
The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham starts on July 28 and our Right at Home Australian Jackaroos Team will be announced toward the end of May. We have a number of Queenslanders in contention and we wish them every success. Thanks to Kelsey Cottrell and Commonwealth Games Australia for the photos.