01 December 2023
Serena Bonnell and Ellen Falkner MBE have played their way into the record books with the longest singles indoor lawn bowls marathon.
Bonnell is an AIS Thrive with Pride Ambassador and Para Jackaroo; while Falkner is the Para High Performance Manager for Bowls Australia, herself a former able bodied bowls world champion.
To claim the record, the pair needed to reach over 30 hours of continuous play, which they broke by playing for 33 hours and 12 minutes at Club Tweed on the Gold Coast over 21-22 November.
Bonnell said that in tackling the record, she wanted to challenge community perceptions around disability and promote bowls as a sport which offers equality.
“Most witnesses to this challenge were forced to question their own perceptions and stereotypes as to what they believe is possible for disabled persons within our society,” said Bonnell.
Bonnell said that playing a high international calibre open player such as Falkner, who is equally invested in the message, gave the event further weight.
“To most of the public who have had no insight into para sport, they believe it’s not a level playing field against "open" athletes,” added Bonnell.
Bonnell set a few benchmarks by being the first para player to attempt a record of this nature; and previous lawn bowls marathon records have been dominated by men.
Read more about Bonnell’s work to promote the inclusivity of bowls through the Rainbow Versatility Pairs bowls tournament earlier this year.