Sylvia on a roll
IT HURTS every time she bends down to bowl, but Sylvia Hiltunen's love for the game helps her get through the pain.
The Murgon Bowls Club member recently conquered this pain barrier to be crowned state champion of last month's Multi Disability Lawn Bowls State Championships held at Chermside Bowls Club.
Hiltunen won her singles event in the class for bowlers with spinal damage.
Hiltunen suffered spinal damage in 2007 after one of her cows ran over her at the family farm in Kilkivan.
This left the avid bowler in pain each time she bent down to bowl, a fact which she said affected her performance in the opening stages of the state championship.
"I was in that much pain and I lost the first two games but I just told myself to suck it up and it was just a matter of bowling through the pain and seeing how far I could go," she said.
The passionate bowler did more than just see how far she could go, making a run all the way to winning the state title with a 9-4, 8-6 victory in the final.
The newly crowned state champion said she was ecstatic with her victory at Chermside.
"I couldn't believe it and I had a smile a mile wide after I won," she said.
"It's really magical and I still get butterflies thinking about it."
Hiltunen said she was reluctant to enter the state championship after thinking she didn't have enough of a handicap, but was eventually persuaded by her fellow ladies bowlers at the Murgon Bowls Club.
Constantly pushing herself through the pain barrier to play on the greens is testament to her love of bowls.
"Every bowl and bend is painful but you've just got to go through the pain," she said.
"I don't think there's anyone that loves bowls more than me, and I'll bowl anywhere, anytime and it's the only sport I can do with the handicap I have."
Hiltunen's doubles partner and fellow Murgon Bowls Club member Donald Moore also took part in the state championship.
Moore competed in the class for bowlers with cerebral palsy and has been bowling for the past 15 years.
Moore paired with Hiltunen in the doubles event and also competed in the singles.