The Australian Jackaroos have called England home for the past 14 days; practicing, acclimatising, and preparing as best we can. Our opening matches are now less than 5 days away, with official practice already underway on the Royal Leamington Spa greens.
However, preparation has not come without the usual interruptions in which touring brings. The team and staff have had regular PCR tests in compliance with the Commonwealth Games Australia COVID safe policy. Unfortunately, I tested positive last week.
So, what does this mean? A few days ago the team headed into the Athlete’s Village, but I will stay at our current accommodation isolating until I am no longer infectious. Luckily no one else has tested positive, fingers crossed it stays that way. At this stage it looks promising that I will be able to have a couple of days practice before we commence our Triples Round 1 on the morning of the 29th. However, it depends on how quickly I can recover and become non-infectious. There are no guarantees.
My positive test is certainly a curve ball, but it is something that we knew was a possibility of happening at some stage. Our Bowls Australia staff and the Commonwealth Games Australia Management are giving all the support I need to recover and get back out on the green, they’ve been brilliant. I am feeling crook, but the symptoms aren’t too bad. My journey to make it here to England for the Commonwealth Games has been a very windy road over the years, so this final twist is one last challenge to overcome. I’m confident that this won’t affect my play or our team’s chances of success.
Otherwise, it is all very exciting and the start of play is only around the corner. The Opening Ceremony will be held on the 28th July, but the Jackaroos have made the tough decision to not attend. For two reasons; the COVID situation and secondly, we have a number of fixtures the next day (the Opening Ceremony is a 2-hour drive from our Village, and will be a long night with a late finish). As a Commonwealth Games debutant, I am disappointed to not attend; as a kid you grow up watching athletes walk out into stadiums to represent their country at various benchmark events, and I’ve always wanted to experience the pride of that moment. However, we feel the risks are too high, and our main job is to stay fit and healthy to contest for medals. As a team we will have our own Opening Ceremony back at the village, which will be special in its own right. I’ll be sure to post some photos on our St Johns Park Bowls Facebook page.
Despite sitting on my hotel bed with a sniffily nose feeling a bit sorry for myself; the excitement that we will be out of the green in less than a week is overwhelming. It doesn’t get any better than representing your country in your chosen sport on the biggest stage. Thanks for all the messages of support from back home, we will endeavour to do you proud.