Locals bowl their way to medals at Queensland Multi Disability Championships

Louise Hoskins bowls at the Queensland Multi Disability Championships. Photo: Bowls Queensland

TWO local lawn bowlers, Louise Hoskins and Brandon Smith, have proven anything is possible with determination, as both won a medal in the 2021 Queensland Multi Disability Championships held at Souths Suburban and Mackay City Bowls Clubs.

Louise Hoskins, from South Johnstone Bowls Club, claimed a silver medal in the Sporting Wheelies Women’s Singles, going down to Cheryl Lindfield from Mt Gravatt by 21 – 12 in the final.

Brandon Smith, a member of South Johnstone and Babinda Bowls Clubs, with his grandmother Maisie Smith a Director, and Jake Fehlberg (Burleigh Heads), with his father Grant Fehlberg a Director, won a gold medal in the Blind Bowlers Open Pairs.

Smith and Fehlberg were up against Helen Boardman (Enoggera), with Director Peter Doherty, and June Brittain (Edmonton), with her daughter Christine McDonald as Director, in the final.

Smith and Fehlberg were coasting along at 9 – 1, until Boardman and Brittain fought back strongly, and the game drew 9 – 9. 

Smith and Fehlberg steadied themselves and won four of the last five ends to claim a 16 – 10 victory and the gold medal.

Players are classified into different categories based on their disability, stance, balance, how they bowl, etc.

Hoskins competes in the Sporting Wheelies class for bowlers with a spinal injury, while other bowlers may be in wheelchairs, have missing or damaged limbs. Others may be deaf or visionally impaired.

Smith, aged 28, who has been visually impaired since birth, was introduced to the game of bowls by his grandmother Maisie at the age of nine and has played the game ever since.

He has been competing in the Multi Disability Championships for eight years and has won four gold medals, as well as silver and bronze in singles and pairs. 

Hoskins, who has been competing in the championships since 2012, suffered a rare spinal injury called Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) after complications from surgery in 2009. 

As she is unable to bend, Hoskins uses a special support stick, which is used to stabilise her body when delivering the bowl.

Her category is B7- spinal injury and she is classed as a partial paraplegic. She competes in the Sporting Wheelies section. 

Both bowlers agreed the event provides a great opportunity for bowlers to learn from each other, especially the varied methods they use to manage their disabilities.

Hoskins, a passionate bowler who has been playing for 15 years, is a regular competitor in Association Bowls and has enjoyed success on many occasions.

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