After only engaging in the sport for 18 months, 52 year old Martin Bock has swept up success at the National NSW Blind Bowls Tournament earlier this month.
The eight day competition ran from May 8th - May 16th, with competitive blind bowlers making the trip to Port Macquarie from all over the country to play against the best of the best.
Bock entered a total of three competitions at the tournament, one singles competition and two pairs competitions.
"I was entered in the B3 singles category," said Bock. B1,B2 B3 and B4 are medical based Paralympic classifications for blind sports. B1 being the lowest level of sight and B4 being the highest.
"I won five out of eight games in the singles comp, playing two to three two hour games for the first three days, which got me fourth place overall," said Bock proudly.
The first paired B3 and B4 comp, Bock played alongside teammate Sharon Dunk from St. John's Bowls Park in Sydney.
"Considering we hadn't met before, we played really well and ended up winning five out of seven of our games," said Bock. This won the team second place in that competition.
The final competition was another B3 and B4 competition but teams were drawn out of a hat. This time Bock was paired with Queensland B4 competitor Dennis Wormald.
"The final pairs competition was very successful as my Queensland teammate and I made it through to our semi final and won, however we lost our final. We were chuffed with second place though," Bock added.
Despite placing in most of his events, Bock admitted that the level of competition at the tournament was of high standards.
"Considering that here in Singleton, I am playing
against able-bodied people and at Port Macquarie I was competing against all people with a visual impairment, I have to admit the standard of skill was very high compared to what I thought it would be."
Bock claimed that competitors ranged from early twenties all the way through until 75 years of age.
"It is such an inclusive sport, anyone can play."
Despite these special achievements, Bock is no stranger to national titles.
In the summer of 1986/87, Bock represented NSW in the Blind Cricket National Champions in Melbourne with the NSW team winning the tournament.
A few years later, Bock had challenged himself to Goalball, a sport with the objective to roll the ball into the opponent's goal while the opposing players try to block the ball with their bodies.
"In 1990, I travelled to Canada to represent Australia at the International Goalball tournament. "There were twelve mens teams and eight womens team from all over the world. It was an absolute thrill the be there. I suppose you could say the energy was similar to Port Macquarie, but bigger."
The 52 year old bowler would like to thank his bowling director Steven Hargreaves who helped Martin in his Port Macquarie tournament. "I wouldn't have been able to walk away with these great results without my director Steven.
"Steven's job is to basically guide me on where to aim, how far to bowl, etc. as I cannot see bowls."
Martin Bock can be found at the Singleton Bowling Club most weekends. If you would like to join the club visit the Singleton Smurfs Bowling Club Facebook page for more information.
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