Education

Gold medallist Josh Thornton inspires students during visit

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May 03, 2018

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Josh Thornton visited students at Shepparton East Primary School this week and is pictured here with Year 6 students James Doyle and Chloe Galt.

Shepparton East Primary School Year 6 students James Doyle and Chloe Galt check out Josh Thornton’s gold medal.

: Josh Thornton with an eager audience at Shepparton East Primary School.

No question was off-limits when Commonwealth Games gold medallist Josh Thornton visited students at Shepparton East Primary School this week.

Mr Thornton was asked about the contentious closing ceremony and what it was like competing at a national level with a disability.

Mr Thornton took gold in the Open B6/B7/B8 lawn bowls triples last month alongside teammates Tony Bonnell and Ken Hanson, and proudly showed his first Commonwealth Games medal to students in years 5 and 6.

‘‘If I never got the gold, it would have still been the best experience — but winning the gold was the cherry on top,’’ he said.

The students were eager to find out how Mr Thornton grew up living with a disability. He explained that he was born with his disability and knew no different.

‘‘I’ve got three fingers on one hand and two on the other,’’ he said.

‘‘And I’ve had several surgeries on my right leg.’’

Growing up with three brothers, Mr Thornton said he gained a competitive streak.

‘‘I’ve always been competitive by nature,’’ he said.

‘‘The surgeries I had when I was 13, 14, and 15 years old only made me more determined.’’

Mr Thornton said he did not care to learn the lengthy name of his condition, which doctors had told him as a youngster.

‘‘It wasn’t worth remembering and it didn’t change who I was,’’ he said.

When asked about failure, Mr Thornton had a positive message for the students.

‘‘If you’ve got a goal and got a dream, you’re better off going out and trying and failing than not trying at all,’’ he said.

‘‘I learnt a lot more out of losing than I did from winning.’’

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