Australia?s number one
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
FOR someone who had never played any sport before, Debbie Waddell's rapid fire rise to a pair of national titles is phenomenal.
It wasn't much longer than 12 months ago that the world of the Nambucca Heads vision impaired lawn bowler was at it's lowest after waking up one morning unable to see, a life event which led to a severe bout of depression.
Pushed into a game of bowls with the local vision impaired bowls association, Waddell found that meeting people in a similar situation as well as the game itself was just the tonic she needed.
Now she has walked away from Sydney's Rydalmere Central club with two gold medals, one for women's singles and the other in the mixed pairs.
"I still can't believe it," the national champ admitted.
"You sort of try and keep focused but I tried to enjoy it as much as I could. It's unbelievable the result."
Christine Sawtell acted as her director at the tournament and together they combined to win eight of the 10 matches.
To top off the amazing experience Waddell had in Sydney, the final day's play was her birthday and she couldn't think of a better gift to receive on the day then two gold medals.
"It's certainly a birthday that I'll never forget," she said with a smile.
Now Waddell will most probably have the opportunity to wear the green and gold in next year's Trans Tasman challenge.
Waddell may be bowled over by her amazing success at the national championships but it is the effect that the local vision impaired bowls association has had on her life in the last twelve months that has left her the most overwhelmed.
"It's made the world of difference to me it has, it's changed a negative into a positive,"
"They're all such positive people here and I want people to know how much of a difference something like this can make."