TATHRA lawn bowler James Reynolds is near certain to once again don the green and gold to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games this year.
Reynolds has been going through a series of trials for selection to the Trans-Tasman team, which will contest an international against New Zealand next month as a preliminary warm up to the Games.
“The Trans-Tasman is an event that happens every year, obviously the venue alternates and this year it's in Traralgon,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds will form part of Australia's three-man disabled team to compete in triples play.
“How it all works is the Commonwealth Games squad is made up of the 10-person open squad, the three-person disabled team and two vision impaired players.
“It's all triples for me,” he said.
Reynolds was one of 12 bowlers run through training camps on a short-list for selection.
“[There was] 12 originally, then they culled us to six and now I've made the final three.”
The two other bowlers to make up the trio are Tim Slater from Ballarat and Anthony Bonnell from Brisbane.
“He [Bonnell] beat me last year in the Australian singles final, so he's obviously pretty handy to say the least,” Reynolds said.
Selectors have aimed to pick the strongest team to compete in the event and create a solid squad to then go on to the Commonwealth Games.
National coach Steve Glasson said nothing was set in stone until after the match.
“To be playing in the final International series before the Commonwealth Games allows the selected players to stake their claims for Glasgow on the greens, but they are all aware that their respective form at the Trans-Tasman can still play a role in Games selection,” Glasson said.
“Competition for spots in the team is always hot and that will remain so until the final decision on the Commonwealth Games team is made,” he said.
In the meantime Reynolds said he was excited to play in the Trans-Tasman as it would be good experience ahead of the Games.
“The format is exactly the same.
“The conditions will be very similar to Scotland with slow greens and that sort of stuff.
“It's entirely in our hands now,” he said.
If all goes well Reynolds will then take part in a series of extensive training camps with the Australian team.
“Assuming everything goes right, from what we understand there will be camps every month and then we'll go over to Scotland.”
“We'll spend about a week there before heading over to the [Commonwealth Games] village in Glasgow.”
Reynolds is considered one of the country’s best bowlers in spite of his disability, so it might lead you to question why he joined the disabled squad.
“That was my choice,” Reynolds said.
Where previously disabled events had been held as part of “Special Olympics”, lawn bowls had made the cut as a feature in the overall Games.
“Everything is concurrent, we all think of disabled sport as 'Special Olympics' and everyone tries to work out 'is it separate?' well, no it's not,” Reynolds said.
“Since 2002 organisers have added specific events in to the overall Games and they're events for elite athletes with a disability.
“The medals count to the overall, everything is the same it's just that we have a physical disability.”
Reynolds said selection to the able-bodied team would be hard being based on the Far South Coast.
“Living in an area like here it's very difficult.
“You're rarely ever seen, the selectors don't see you unless you're at state championships.
“That's kind of why I went down this path,” he said.