Garry Brown a Gold Medal Story
Next up in our Gold Medal stories is Blackwood Victoria BC’s Garry Brown who secured Team Scotland’s bowlers unforgettable first 2022 gold in the Para Men’s Pairs B6-B8 with Kevin Wallace. Birmingham was Garry’s second Games, having also represented Team Scotland at the 2018 Games in Gold Coast, Australia. The duo made history winning the first ever medal for Scotland in the physically disabled disciplines… only to be joined a few days later by their fellow para team players Rosemary Lenton and Pauline Wilson.
During the event at Leamington Spa, both Brown and Wallace mentioned the wealth of support they’d received from those who had travelled to the Games, but also from back home in Scotland. Speaking after their final match against Australia in the summer, having been called a ‘gold medallist’ for the first time Garry said:
“You could say that to me a thousand times but it's still only sinking in! I am over the moon! Kevin was brilliant, what a player, what a player!
“This is something special. My Mum and Dad are here, Kevin’s dad is here, and I can't thank them enough for the support they were perfect from the word go. All the way through they were loud - loud and proud and it's basically like an extra man.”
We caught up with Garry for a Q&A looking back over the success of Birmingham 2022 and to find out more about his gold medal story…
Q) What was it like to bring a medal back home to Scotland?
A) It was a dream come true! It has always been a dream of mine to reach a podium at a major event in bowls so after all the hard work that myself and the squad put in, added with the heartache of the result in the Gold Coast, it was great to achieve mine and the squads goals."
Q) How has your club supported you in your bowling career, in the build-up to and since the games?
A) "After initial disappointment, my club, Blackwood Victoria, were very supportive of me. When I was told I was going, a few close friends and the club as a whole made sure I had everything I needed to go at short notice. The bowling club was very supportive with green time for practising and one to one sessions in order for me to improve my game during the selection window. I really appreciated this."
Q) What message of encouragement would you give to anyone aspiring to reach a Commonwealth Games?
A) "I would encourage all to give it a try. I had performance sport experience through swimming, so I knew the level of commitment and sacrifices required to help me achieve my goal of getting to a Games. I'd say never say never. If you work hard enough anything is possible."
Q) You also competed in the Games at Gold Coast 2018, how did the support differ given the 2022 Games were much closer to home?
A) "The support in the Gold Coast was, although small in number, they could still be heard. But Birmingham was like a home games at times with huge, encouraging support from the crowd. We ended up naming one section of the grandstand ‘Scotch Corner!’ All the families and friends of the squad supported all of us. They were brilliant and raised all our games immensely. Being able to get a medal in front of my family and friends meant the world to me and it's an experience I'll never forget. I also got lots of messages of support from friends and family who couldn't make it. It was on a different level."
Q) You first got involved in bowls through a come and try session – what would your advice be to encourage more clubs to host open days / inclusive to para-bowlers?
A) "Don't be afraid to try bowls, it's very inclusive and clubs and para players are very welcoming! I hope the para achievements of the 2022 Games will show people what they can do and what opportunities are available. Aim high as we all had to start somewhere."
Huge thanks to Garry for sharing his Gold Medal experiences with us.
If your club are interested in hosting a Try Bowls session, similar to the one that first introduced Garry to our ‘sport for all’ then head to the Try Bowls section of our website to register your club or speak to your NDO.