Adam Hayes thought his chances of representing Australia in his chosen sport might have passed him by.
At 44, and with plenty of younger players coming through, he didn’t think he was much of a chance of figuring in the national ten pin bowling side, but a strong run of form has given him not only a national title, but a place in the Australian squad for the world championships later this month.
Hayes, who runs the Pro Shop at WynCity in Point Cook, will jet off to glitzy Las Vegas to compete against the world’s best, and he’s still pinching himself.
“I can’t describe the feeling when I found out I’d made the team, it’s beyond anything I ever thought could happen,” Hayes said.
“I always wanted to do it, but I wasn’t sure if I could compete right at the very top of the sport, so to show that I can do that and prove to myself that I can do it is an amazing feeling.
“I was caught a bit by surprise, not because there is a youth policy for the side, but I thought for the most part they would look to the youth rather than a guy like myself who’s a bit older, but I’ll be trying to hold onto my spot in the side for as long as I can now.”
Hayes began bowling as a teenager in the ’80s, but didn’t take it seriously until much later in life. He said it wasn’t until his late 30s that he really begun to focus and the results started to come.
“A few years ago I really started chasing it more and entering in more events,” he said.
“I’d always been involved with the sport, working at centres, coaching younger players et cetera. I enjoy that there’s so many elements to it, there’s a bit of science to it, a bit of skill, it can be physically demanding and a grind.”
Hayes progressed quickly in recent years, making state teams, being part of the national training squad, and earlier this year winning the Queensland Open against some of the best players in the country.
“Most of my highlights until recently have been seeing junior players progress and do well, but going to Vegas is definitely my biggest highlight now,” he said.
“It’s going to be big, the Americans don’t do small with their events so it will be a memorable trip.”
Despite it being his first world championships, Hayes is hoping he can compete well and deliver for Australia.
“I’m quietly confident I can do some good stuff,” he said.
“I’m bowling as good as I ever have, I’ve never bowled as well as I am right now, and I know that I can compete with Australia’s best and we have some of the best in the world.”