Left: Ken Hanson, Middle: Josh Thornton, Right: Tony Bonnell

Para pair relinquish Jackaroos duty

by Domenic Favata

BCiB Australia Jackaroos para pair and 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalists Joshua Thornton and Ken Hanson have individually made the decision to call time on their Australian representative careers.

Thornton has cited work and family commitments as the motivation behind his decision to step away from the green and gold, while Hanson has decided to end his Jackaroos stint on a high with the 69-year-old unable to commit to the strenuous calendar for an international bowler going forward.

Both bowlers, along with Tony Bonnell, won the hearts of the Australian public following their para-triples gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, with Hanson subsequently crowned Colac Sportsperson of the Year for his match-winning efforts.

In informing their teammates of their decision, both Thornton and Hanson lauded the togetherness of the Jackaroos family and the lifelong memories they now possess.

“I can say with absolute confidence that the last two years being involved with the para squad and the extended Jackaroos squad has been some of the greatest moments in my life. I want to say thanks to you Steve Glasson, Gary Willis, Peter Brown, ‘Darlsie’ (Faye Luke) and the rest of the High Performance team for all your help and support along the journey. The selectors, for having faith in me to go out and represent our country to the best of my ability and do our sport proud, while a special mention to Kelvin Kerkow, who took on the coaching duties for the para squad in the lead-up and during the Commonwealth Games. For someone who has accomplished so much in the sport of lawn bowls and to be that involved with the para guys would give anyone confidence to do their best,” Thornton said.

“From the moment I was selected in the initial squad until the Commonwealth games finished I have squeezed out every ounce of energy that I had. There is not much left! I can honestly say that being part of the Jackaroo family (whilst a bit overwhelming for a start) has been one of the biggest highlights of my 69 years. The friendships made with all squad members, HP staff, coaches, selectors, Bowls Australia officials and staff will be lifelong. While all of the aforementioned are still involved, bowls in Australia are in good hands and will continue to set the pace,” Hanson said.

National Coach Steve Glasson thanked Thornton and Hanson for their contribution to representing Australia at the highest level.

“Josh and Ken have been much-loved members of the Jackaroos family and we wish them both well for the future away from the national team set-up,” he said.

“The recent accomplishments of both bowlers will long live in the memories of all members of the Australian bowls community and both have been wonderful ambassadors for para sport.

“We acknowledge the nature of being an Australian representative brings with it a challenging schedule and we cannot fault Josh and Ken for not being able to commit to the rigours of the Jackaroos squad.”