Steve Jancetic & Steve Larkin / AAP News
The Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist has defended his title and celebrated in a familiar shirtless fashion at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Australia’s Aaron Wilson has only one regret after becoming the first lawn bowler in 44 years to win consecutive men’s singles gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.
“I wish I had a better rig, but that’s life,” Wilson said after ripping off his shirt and jumping for joy in a repeat of his celebrations on the Gold Coast four years.
“That (body) has been well seasoned.”
Wilson trounced Northern Island’s Garry Kelly 21-3 in a Saturday’s singles final – if lawn bowls can be brutal, this was it.
Wilson raced to a 12-0 lead en route to becoming the first man since England’s David Bryant to snare consecutive singles golds.
Bryant won the last of his four successive titles in 1978.
Wilson delivered Australia’s second lawn bowls gold of the day, following the earlier success of Ellen Ryan and Kristina Krstic in the women’s pairs.
The victories couldn’t have been more contrasting.
In what spectators were calling the greatest match they’d seen, Ryan and Krstic won a thrilling final with a 19-18 extra end win over England’s Amy Pharaoh and Sophie Tolchard at Royal Leamington Spa outside Birmingham.
It all came down to the final bowl, in the hand of Ryan.
With England holding the advantage in the extra end, Ryan – having earlier scattered the bowls with a drive – again went the direct route to knock out England’s bowl and hopes.
“I always knew I could do it and I knew that we could do it, but for it to happen it’s a dream come true,” Ryan said.
“I had a few tears, I think I’m still in a bit of shock.
“Unbelievable to win a gold with my best friend.”
While separated by the breadth of the country, Ryan from western Sydney and Krstic from Perth, the pair are unabashed best friends.
They met a Jackaroos team trial camp in 2016.
As the newbies in the group, the pair formed an immediate bond during walks along the beach, and still speak to each other every day.
Now they’ll have a golden memory to talk about whenever they call.
“My stomach was churning but I had every faith she could get that last bowl,” Krstic said.
“She’d played two crackers just before so I had every belief in her that she could do it and she did.
“She’s done it all tournament, she’s played the big ones when she’s needed to and backed me up – I couldn’t be more proud of us.”
Ryan also won the women’s singles at the Birmingham Games.