Thursday 6 November
By Ashley Gaden
Convening the largest tenpin bowling group from New South Wales at this year’s Jupiters Pan Pacific Masters Games is just an added bonus for marital couple John and Aila Leo.
The task of organising a team of 34 competitors out of 100 participants has become second nature to the pair after managing the Liverpool Bowling Club.
“Oh he’s too old to bowl but I’ve been bowling since 1972 and this isn’t difficult at all because I’ve got the bowling bug,” Aila said.
“The hardest part is trying to get the body to do what the brain wants to do because you get stiff knees and the concentration isn’t as great as it used to be.
“The first thing we always ask each other is are you still alive?”
However it’s not just the competitors turning up to the Games, with many spectators like Gail Hughes travelling with the team for support.
“We enjoy the company of everyone here and we’ve all bowled together before,” Hughes said.
“We enjoy coming up here together. We had a Melbourne Cup day on Tuesday where we carried on like idiots but we had fun and that’s what it’s all about.”
Despite the possibility of medals throughout the Games, the group remains engrossed with the ability to socialise and support one another with the competition set to continue into the week.
“Anybody can take it up and you make life long friends,” Aila said.
“We get to this age where you can’t take it too seriously, where you’re here to enjoy yourself and it doesn’t matter how badly you bowl.”