Commonwealth Games’ 68 year old debutant


Ken Hanson is bounding around the bowling greens at the Darebin International Sports Centre in his socks with a youthful exuberance that belies his 68 years.


By David McPherson


He has driven roughly two hours from Colac in western Victoria to get here, but the time behind the wheel has done little to curb his bubbling enthusiasm.

“I’m only five foot five and a half but I feel like six foot five and a half at the moment,” he says.

Australian team Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti has just announced that Hanson will be part of his first Commonweath Games team on the Gold Coast next year. He will be one of five athletes on the the para-sport bowls team.

“It’s unbelievable really – I was just so happy to be in the initial squad. It’s a really big thrill to be in this position at my age,” Hanson says.

Hanson, who was born without his left arm, considered the possibility of a GC2018 appearance after impressing another member of the Australian Jackaroos.


“I always played open bowls until a bit over 12 months ago. I’m a Victorian but I play at Tweed Heads in the winter and I ran into Brett Wilkie – I played against him. I played ok and Brett suggested having a go at the disability team,” he says.

“He got me organised to go up to Brisbane to be assessed and they said yes I’ve met the criteria [for para-sport participation]. He gave me the paperwork to fill in and it’s all gone from there.”

Hanson says he won’t just be content with soaking in the Commonwealth Games experience either – he’s ready to make some waves on the Gold Coast.

“I go up to the Gold Coast during the winter and play a lot of bowls up there. I’ve been up to about five training camps and a couple of trans-Tasman and multi-nations [competitions],” he says.

“We’ve done fairly well in our group, we’ve won the multi-nations gold and we won the trans-Tasman so without getting too far ahead of myself, my expectations are fairly high.”


Ken joined us on Gold Coast Gold Podcast –





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