Bowler Rex Johnston awarded Legend status

Bowling legend: Tuncurry's Rex Johnston.
Bowling legend: Tuncurry's Rex Johnston.

TUNCURRY  Beach bowler Rex Johnston OAM and with Kelvin Kerkow OAM (Queensland) will be elevated to Legend Status at the sport’s hall of fame and awards night next month.

The pair are the first additions to the exclusive club since Glynn Bosisto was confirmed at the inaugural staging of the Hall of Fame in 2011, and as such, are just the nation’s second and third bowls Legends.

Johnston, 66, is one of the nation’s most decorated bowlers, and enjoyed an illustrious international playing career from 1988 to 2004, where he pulled on the green and gold uniform on more than 400 occasions.

He is the only Australian bowler to represent at four consecutive Commonwealth Games, from 1990 to 2002, and secured a coveted gold medal as skip of the men’s pairs at the 1994 Victoria, British Columbia Games.

He coached Malta at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, became an Australian selector from 2006 until his appointment as the Australian coach in 2009, until 2011.

On the State scene, Johnston accumulated 320 appearances for the NSW Blues, was awarded the male Bowler of the Year accolade on three occasions (1990, 1991 and 1997) and was bestowed hall of fame membership by Bowls NSW in 2009.

Johnston was presented with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his contribution to bowls and charitable work in 2006.

Bowls Australia president Nigel Smith said Kerkow and Johnston both thoroughly deserving of being labelled living legends.

“Kelvin and Rex are without question two of the greatest players to have ever played the sport, not just in this country, but worldwide,” Smith said.

“Both are synonymous with the sport around the world as a result of their considerable achievements, and are unquestionably living legends of bowls in Australia.”

Kerkow and Johnston will be officially instated as Legends at Bowls Australia’s 2017 Hall of Fame and Awards Night, to be staged at Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise on October 26.