DONNA’S GOING FOR GOLD

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Donna McCloy has had a successful bowls career to date, but there’s one honour in particular which still eludes her: Commonwealth champion.

The Ballymoney resident heads off to Glasgow next month for what will be her fifth Commonwealth Games, but so far she is yet to taste medal glory.

Donna though has set her sights on putting the record straight at Kelvingrove.

“Every competitor’s ambition is to win a medal and it’s the one medal I don’t have,” she told Times Sport.

“This year we are getting two bites of the cherry as we are allowed to compete in two disciplines instead of the normal one. So I will be competing in the triples and fours and hoping to be on the podium at the end of the competition.

“I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to be selected again. I didn’t think I would make the final five ladies team, but I was delighted when I received my selection letter back in December.”

Despite not winning a medal at her previous Games Donna has plenty of good memories.

“Every games has a different memory for me,” said Donna.

“My first games in Kuala Lumpur was special as it was my first big competitive competition in a far away country. I had never experienced anything like the atmosphere when walking into the opening ceremony, and being in the same environment as many of the great athletes/sports persons we see every day on television, and meeting Prince Edward was an honour too.

“And at the last games In Delhi I had the company of my husband Gary who was competing on the men’s team, which was special.”

With the Games being so close to home Northern Ireland and the rest of the Home Nations should be amongst the medal favourites.

“Our main rivals will be the other home countries as we are all used to playing on these weight of greens, whereas the Southern Hemisphere countries are used to quicker greens so we will have an advantage over them in that sense,” explained Donna.

“We will have an advantage and therefore will be trying to make a good start each game.

“I believe we will have a lot of supporters travelling over to watch us too and I’m sure we will have lots of television coverage so we’ll be doing our best to repay them.”

Donna and the rest of the Northern Ireland team will be working hard in the build up to the Games as they are determined to hit the ground running.

“We have been over to Glasgow a couple of times, most recently a few weeks ago when we played , England, Scotland and Wales in a test series and used it as an exercise to finalise our playing positions and disciplines,” she explained.

“We are heading to Cardiff for the ‘Twelfth’ weekend to play against Wales and New Zealand before the Games being on 23rd August. And because the lady bowlers have all played together before we all know each other strengths and weaknesses .

“We also have a NI team get together next weekend when all the sports come together for a weekend of team building and getting to know each other. All the bowlers are currently playing their league games and championships competitions, so I reckon by the time July 23rd comes along we will be raring to go.”