Scotland’s George Miller becomes oldest Commonwealth gold medallist at 75

The Guardian - Fri Aug 5 17:20

As he basked in the satisfaction of becoming the oldest gold medallist in the history of the Commonwealth Games, George Miller encouraged people of all ages to pick up sports.

“It’s all there to be tried,” he told the BBC. “Everybody can try any sport at all. Bowls is easier for older people, but any sport; walking football, rugby, you name it. Get out there, exercise, play games, compete. It’s brilliant whatever age you are.”

Scotland’s 75-year-old Miller is the lead director for Melanie Innes, who alongside Robert Barr and his director Sarah Jane Ewing won the B2/B3 mixed pairs bowls for Scotland, defeating Wales 16-9 in the final.

“I never believed that could possibly happen. We worked hard, really hard, and we’ve managed, somehow, to win all our games. Really brilliant,” said Innes.

Innes and Barr are visually impaired. As directors, Miller and Ewing assist by enabling the players to paint a mental picture of the field of play, explaining at what angle and distance the bowl is from the jack and helping them to find a line. Innes described Miller’s contributions as invaluable.

“I couldn’t do it without George. You can’t see what’s happening or how the balls are running, so George has to give me the information so I can visualise it,” she said.

The event was guaranteed to crown a new oldest champion as there was a 75-year-old on each side, with Wales’s Gordon Llewellyn, director for Julie Thomas, just five months younger than Miller. In the end, Scotland won comprehensively. As the group digested their victory, Miller gave no indication that there is an endpoint in sight.

“It’s great. It’s fantastic. A year ago I never dreamed of being here. I got a phone call, and nearly fell off the chair to be honest. Here we are – where are we going to go from here?” he said.

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The previous record had been set just two days ago by their 72-year-old Scottish teammate, Rosemary Lenton, when she won the Para women’s pairs title alongside the 58-year-old Pauline Wilson.

“I took up bowls, really as a social thing, to get myself out of the house and mix with people,” said Lenton on Wednesday. “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.”