It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be selected to represent Australia in sport, and that is exactly what Jason Holly and Teila Bulmer, from Forster, have done. Joining over 7,000 competitors from 170 countries, Jason and Teila will compete at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi in March 2019.
Jason will compete in Ten Pin Bowling singles and doubles events. Teila will compete in the 100 m and 200 m freestyle, relay and breastroke or backstroke swimming events. For both, it is a dream come true.
“At first,” said Teila, “I didn’t think I was going, but when I heard I was really excited.”
It has been Jason’s ultimate goal for some time. He is excited to be bowling for his town, his country and to follow in his grandfather’s steps, as he was also a first class bowler.
The pair have just arrived backed from a training camp at Tallebudgera, where they met up with other team members.
“This region has some very talented bowlers,” explained Julie, Jason’s mum. “Of the 12 in the National team, seven are from NSW; we have a strong representation.”
Training camps are just one element of a committed training regime. Teila does pool work two days a week and works on strength and fitness in the gym as well. Her coaches, Pete and Adele, have been working with her to improve her turn technique. Jason works in the gym on the elliptical machine and free weights to increase his upper body strength and has a personal trainer in the gym to fine tune his regime and encourage him to work harder.
There will be 50 lanes in the Bowling Alley in Abu Dhabi, and Jason is working hard to remain calm and shake off the noise around him. His part-time job at Coles has helped him to adapt to busy environments with lots of strangers around.
Jason’s coach, Clay, says Jason’s preparation is going well: “He listens to everything I say, focuses well and shows great discipline and healthy competitiveness. Jason is currently working hard increasing his sparing capability and has seen good results. This really helps with building his score.”
Teila explained the Special Olympics has been her big goal for over 14 years: “When I stand on the blocks before the race, I tell myself to stay calm and swim my own race.”
After a 14 hour flight, the team will have three days’ orientation to get used to the climate, environment and time zone differences before the Opening Ceremony. All athletes recite the Athletes Oath at the beginning of all competitions – Teila and Jason know it well – “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”.
There is a busy crew of supporters raising funds and working hard to get the pair to Abu Dhabi, with several fundraising events planned.
“We are very pleased to have as our major sponsors Dundaloo Support Services, Forster Bowling and Entertainment Club and the Mid North Coast Country and Western Association,” said Julie. “Their support has helped enormously, and we do have some community fundraising events that people can attend.”
A Trivia and Auction Day will be held at Forster Bowling Club Function Room at 1pm on Sunday, October 21. Donations of merchandise, gift cards and cash are still being gratefully received. You can make up a table of family or friends, bring your own nibblies and enjoy a fun packed afternoon. Entry is $10 per person.
On Sunday, November 25, there will be a Ten Pin Bowl-a-thon at Forster Bowling and Entertainment Club. For full details and bookings, you can contact Julie on 0417 655 305 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
With so many preparations underway, Jason and Teila hold fast to their goal to do their best, bring home as many medals and ribbons as they can and enjoy the experience. We wish them the very best.