DR GARRETT Slattery, the partially sighted lawn bowler from the Actuarial Science Department, donned green and gold for the first time last month when he represented South Africa at the International Paralympic World Championships (IPC) in Adelaide. He won a silver medal in the B3 category for mixed pairs.
"The gold medal looks better," he quipped as he donned the large and impressive looking silver medallion for the Monday Paper photograph. "But it is nice to come back with something." The South African group also won the team prize, another "something" to put in the trophy box.
According to Slattery, who scooped three gold medals in the National Tournament for Blind Bowlers in Durban last year, the standard of play was very high, with participants from eight other countries competing vigorously for top honours. "It was very interesting to see the different coaching methods and ways of getting the information across to the players. South Africa is ahead of the game on this score."
With a mere three weeks to go for the Championships, the participants became involved in a frantic rush to prepare themselves. "It was very late in the day when we heard we had secured funding and there was quite a bit of admin to do which made it a tricky business."
As an experience it was great, he said, and the Australians were a fun group of people (even though South African sports fans love to hate them). "They certainly rallied around their teams with 'Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie!' from the crowds whenever they were competing!" At least the winner in Slattery's round was from Hong Kong with the other runners-up from Wales and South Africa –
Bowling is not his only sport. Slattery has been playing golf since his school days. "Golf as a sport for the disabled is taking off in South Africa now that there is a fulltime promotions officer and the membership is around the 100 mark."
Perhaps Slattery will win that elusive gold on the green instead?