Connie Rixon may be a Commonwealth Games medallist but she now has her focus firmly set on promoting the Bundaberg Region to the world.
The 22-year-old, who now calls Bundaberg home, represented Malta at the Commonwealth Games last year where she secured a bronze medal for lawn bowls in the women’s fours.
Living and studying in South East Queensland, Connie found herself travelling to and from Bundaberg constantly for competitions and to see her partner.
“When I had my spare time I’d be up here,” Connie said.
“I used to come up here a lot to compete as a junior.
“Me and my family have probably been between here and the Sunshine Coast for the past eight or nine years.”
As Bundaberg Tourism’s marketing assistant she now has her sights set on promoting the Bundaberg Region to the world.
“It’s a great honour in a sense, I’m very passionate about it,” she said.
“I’m actually able to see and meet the locals that are even more passionate about what they’re doing and they have a real belief in that.
“That spurs on what I do.”
Connie bowls for Malta at Commonwealth Games
Her move to the Bundaberg Region hasn’t stopped her lawn bowls aspirations, a journey which started when she was just 11.
Her father’s side of the family would host bowls competitions at annual holiday events and, on the “in-laws” team, her mother Rose was fed up with losing.
So she took Connie and sister Rebecca with her to get lessons and that introduction led to a love of the sport.
“We just ended up meeting people,” Connie said.
“The social side kept us in it then we got in to the competitive side.
“I’ve a very competitive person, so that kind of just has not stopped.”
After her first selection for Queensland as a 15-year-old, Connie’s passion for bowls hasn’t slowed.
“Once you got a taste for that it grew from there.”
After representing Queensland and Australia in various competitions, Connie was presented with an opportunity to represent Malta at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games alongside her mother and her sister.
“We got a bronze medal out of that last year as well,” Connie said.
“It’s been quite the journey. It was incredible.”
Connie said even she was stunned to find Malta on the podium.
“That was actually the first time that Malta, for lawn bowls, had a full women’s team competing at the Commonwealth Games.
“It was awesome we were, in a sense, the underdog.
“We’re not full-time lawn bowlers. We have other jobs outside of bowls.”
While placing at the Commonwealth Games was a career highlight Connie never before imagined reaching, she said she was still keen to continue competing.
“Next year we’ve actually got the 2020 world championships that we qualified back in may for.”
Connie bowls to her own tune
Connie said people were often surprised to hear she played bowls, hearing things like “I didn’t think people your age could play bowls”.
“If you mention it in conversation it is like a double-take on their behalf.”
Connie said that just as you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover it was important not to judge a sport by common stereotypes.
“There’s definitely a lot of younger ones, and young guns as we call them, coming through the ranks.”
She is a fan of the movie Crackerjack however Connie said she had yet to perfect the ‘flipper’ and didn’t have any signature moves of her own.
“I’m not going to lie I’ve certainly tried that move.
“It’s definitely not one we’d try in competition, that’s for sure!”
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