Goulburn’s Ellen Ryan is on a high after winning Australia’s first-ever gold medal in the women’s lawn bowls singles at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The win is a dream come true for the 25-year-old who held her nerve and narrowly pipped the competition favourite, Lucy Beere from Guernsey, in front of a capacity crowd.
“It really is a dream come true,” Ryan told Region.
“I can’t thank everyone enough who has supported me over the years and shaped who I am. I owe this one to my mum and dad.”
Ryan has her eye firmly on another gold as she takes on the pairs competition alongside her best friend, Kristina Krstic.
Making her games debut, Ryan is the youngest member of the 18-strong Australian Jackaroos squad.
“It’s always been my dream to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games, not only for myself but my family who have also put in the hard yards getting me to where I am,” she said.
Mayor Peter Walker said Ryan was an outstanding athlete and a great ambassador for her hometown.
Ryan started playing bowls in 2008 at the age of nine, inspired by her mother who is also an avid bowler. Her first significant bowling achievement was winning club minor pairs with her mum.
She took the Australian under-18 singles title in 2012, gold in the triples in 2013 and 2014 and gold in the pairs in 2015. That year also yielded the Australian Open singles title and selection for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa where the then 18-year-old won gold in the mixed pairs and silver in the girls’ singles.
Ryan works as a school learning support officer and a retained firefighter and enjoys riding her horse and playing touch football and soccer.