The good times roll for Buderim lawn bowler

Thu, 1st Jun 2017
PREVIEW

Lawn bowler Connie Rixon is off to the Commonwealth Games after winning gold at the world youth championships. 

A young lawn bowler is making her mark on the international stage after taking out gold in the mixed pairs at the World Youth Championships at Broadbeach.

What makes her win even more interesting is that Buderim resident Connie Rixon was representing Malta in the competition.

From the moment Rixon, now 20, set foot on the green as an 11-year-old, she felt right at home.

“The main reason I started is because my mum was taking lessons to try and beat my dad during the annual Christmas barefoot bowls matches we play with his family in New South Wales every year. She could never beat him,” she says.

“My younger sister Rebecca and I used to go along to the lessons and take colouring pencils and watch, but then we decided to give it a go.”

It wasn’t long before Rixon was lined up to compete in the Junior Districts and joined Coast competitors to take on the Gayndah Districts at Goomeri.

Rixon went on to become a Queensland representative, playing for the Under 18s side for three years before progressing to the under 25s and gaining a coveted position on the national training squad before she was approached by a representative from Malta to ask if she would consider competing for them due to her mother’s heritage.

“It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” she says.

“You have to take a two-year ban from any state-level competition and I couldn’t represent Queensland for two years after I finished competing for Malta. Because I had such strong ties with the state squad, it wasn’t a decision that I took lightly.”

Rixon took the leap and was the only under 25 Malta representative at the world titles, so she was partnered with Australian competitor Billy Johnson for the competition.

“It was a little bit daunting and I was incredibly nervous beforehand as the only person representing Malta there. It was my first time competing at an international level at such a huge event and it was a bit surreal to be honest,” she says.

“I never really considered myself being able to achieve and play at such a level.”

Rixon and Johnson had a connection on the green and found it easy to communicate, paving the way to their gold medal success.

 

Now Rixon is juggling three jobs and a regular commute from the Sunshine Coast to QUT in Brisbane to study a bachelor of business, as well as training three or four times a week at Club Kawana to continue to develop her skills in preparation for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year.