The parents of Corowa-Wahgunyah’s newest Commonwealth Games lawn bowls champion, Josh Thornton got the surprise of their life on Monday night as their son rocked up on their doorstep unexpected at 10pm.
The elated 36-year-old flew from the Gold Coast to Melbourne and then drove all the way to Wahgunyah to celebrate with mum Kate and his dad Lex.
“I didn’t tell them I was coming, I rang them as I was coming up the hill to the house and told them I had to go because I was almost back home in Shepparton,” he said.
“Then I jumped out of the car and knocked on their door, so it was pretty cool to catch up with them because I didn’t get a chance to see them after the match.”
Mrs Thornton told the Free Press earlier in the week she was hanging out to hold her son’s gold medal.
“We are so proud of him, he was there to win gold and that’s what he did,” she said.
Josh partnered with Tony Bonnell and Ken Hanson to deliver Australia the open B6/B7/B8 triples gold medal in a nail-biter, 14-13, against New Zealand at Broadbeach Bowls Club last week.
“We initially played quite well early on and we got into a good little lead
and then we played a bad end about
halfway through which made it close again and it stayed that way for the rest of the match,” Josh said.
“We were down playing that last end and down a shot and thankfully Kenny, which is the reason why he got picked, because he was able to play these shots in all our lead up games and trials and he came up with the goods with his last two bowls.”
While family and sporting commitments have taken Josh back to Shepparton where he’s currently living, he aims to return to his hometown in a fortnight to celebrate properly with family and friends.
“It’s been such a whirlwind these past two weeks,” Josh said.
“I still don’t know if it has sunk in for everyone yet, but it’s a really good feeling because I was on a mission for gold and I got it.
“It was great to see my parents and give them both a hug and they got to hold my medal.”
Josh described the opening ceremony as amazing.
“It was a really good build up, you sit in the holding room for an hour and then they rolled us out and with Australia being the last country to come out, we slowly rolled into the stadium over a period of about half an hour and that adrenaline when they announced us was, well, words can’t describe how good that felt,” he said.
“I hung around a few different famous people while walking around the track and stood behind the netballers at one stage.
“My mum messaged me and said my nephews and nieces stayed up and spotted me on TV, so they were pretty happy about that.
“I got on TV about two or three times, the best part was probably when we walked out of the stadium and they were interviewing Mark Knowles (men’s hockey captain) who had the flag duties and just as they started the interview I happened to be walking past him and I stuck my big head in the frame.”
This weekend Josh will head to Bendigo to compete in the state championships.