At 73 and 69, first-timers are ready to bowl themselves to history | other | Hindustan Times
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At 73 and 69, first-timers are ready to bowl themselves to history

other Updated: Sep 29, 2010 23:27 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Hindustan Times
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It is never too late to have a ball, especially if it’s in lawn bowls.

Falkland Islands’ Gerald Reive (73) and George Paice (69) are out to prove the point as they are set to create a record of becoming the oldest debutants in the Commonwealth Games when they compete in the lawn bowls pairs event.

Both Reive and Paice are based in New Zealand, where they shifted in their mid 20s for employment, but would be representing their native land. The Falkland Islands, with a population of just over 3000, does not have a single lawn bowls pitch and this is the first time they will be represented in this event.

“I never thought that I will be officially called an athlete at 73,” said Reive, who has been competing in local New Zealand tournaments for over two decades. And it would not have been possible if the idea to field a team had not come up during a vacation chat between Paice and an official of the Falkland Islands Commonwealth Games committee a couple of years ago.

“When I heard it first, I thought it was never going to happen and did not tell anyone about it. But here we are,” said Paice, who worked in the cold storage business for 30 years before retiring nine years ago.

He started playing lawn bowls seriously after that and considers himself a “junior” since he is yet to play the sport for 10 years.

Paice contacted fellow Falklander, Reive, to join the team and they arrived here on Monday morning with just one member in the support staff — Reive's wife, Shirley, who is doubling up as manager. “She is also a lawn bowls player and is helping us with our preparation,” said Reive.

Like the other 13 members of the Falkland contingent, Reive and Paice are not even thinking of a medal but insist that they would not just make up the numbers. “We have been training for about four hours, thrice a week, and our realistic aim is to give of our best against whoever we play,” said Paice.

Though lawn bowls is not very physically demanding, the biggest worry for the two veterans is the Delhi heat. “Compared to New Zealand, it is very warm here. We practised for about two hours today. The grass is very slow but we have four more sessions and we should be ready for the competition,” Paice added.

Irrespective of whatever they achieve here, their sheer presence would be testimony to the fact that the Games is not just about competition. It is also about living your dreams.