Commonwealth Games: Rosemary Lenton says she is 'dreaming' after winning gold aged 72

2022 Commonwealth Games
Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV with extra streams on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport mobile app; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; live text and clips online.

Dumfries pensioner Rosemary Lenton has become the Commonwealth Games' oldest gold medallist.

The 72-year-old helped her country win the Para women's pairs bowls.

Lenton was making her debut at the Games.

"I think I am dreaming, to be be perfectly honest," Lenton told BBC Sport after linking up with Pauline Wilson to defeat Australia's Cheryl Lindfield and Serena Bonnell 17-5 in the gold-medal match at Leamington Spa's Victoria Park on Wednesday.

"It hasn't quite sunk in yet but this is absolutely fantastic. I never thought I would ever get to a Commonwealth Games and if I did, it would be as a spectator."

Lenton and Wilson, 58, have a combined age of 130 but the pair proved age is no barrier, and there were joyous scenes on a day Lenton never thought she would experience.

Rosemary Lenton (right) and Pauline Wilson who won gold for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games
Rosemary Linton, 72, (right) and Pauline Wilson, 58 have a combined age of 130

'You can't wait for the world to come to you'

Lenton is part of Team Scotland's Para-bowls team after reinventing her life when routine surgery led to an infection and a series of other operations.

She had been due to go and watch the Games in Manchester in 2002 as a spectator before health problems thwarted her.

Formerly a competitive sailor and cyclist who had gone on charity rides to China and Russia, she took up bowls in 2005 and has competed in three world championships, winning a silver medal in one.

She went on to take up wheelchair curling and has competed in nine world championships.

"I hadn't played the sport [bowls] until I ended up in a wheelchair in 2002," Lenton said in an interview before the Games.

"I went into hospital for what was meant to be a straightforward operation but I got an infection and had to have nine operations and was in hospital for three months.

"I struggled going back to work for three years before I had to give it up in 2005. I took up bowls, really as a social thing, to get myself out of the house and mix with people.

"When I was at bowls, someone suggested wheelchair curling too. You can't sit at home and wait for the world to come to you, you have to make the effort and go out and meet others."

'I will never forget it'

Lenton was forced to appeal for sponsors to help with the cost of equipment for the Games.

"We have to use specifically coloured balls for television purposes," she said before the event. "We still need to get one more set which can cost between £250 and £380."

Wilson said Wednesday's gold medal triumph with Lenton had left her lost for words.

"It is absolutely phenomenal," she added. "It's been a great experience and one that I will never forget. We were confident, we believed in ourselves and we did it."

Lenton said: "When it mattered we did the business. We always knew we could do it."

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