Tenpin bowler, 81, still strikes at Australian Deaf Games

GAME TO GO ON: Tenpin bowler Judy Buehow, 81, of Brisbane, is well-known as one of the oldest athletes competing at the Australian Deaf Games. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

GAME TO GO ON: Tenpin bowler Judy Buehow, 81, of Brisbane, is well-known as one of the oldest athletes competing at the Australian Deaf Games. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

Ask Judy Buehow her age and she laughs as she turns around to show the number 18 on the back of her shirt.

“If you swap the numbers around, you’ll get your answer there,” she said.

Buehow, 81, one of the oldest competitors at this week’s Australian Deaf Games, has been taking part in the tenpin bowling tournament in Wodonga.

Since starting the sport in 1975, the Brisbane bowler has been to “maybe five or six” Australian Deaf Games and also represented her country at three Deaflympics, in Italy, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Although not a medallist at international level, Buehow did not leave last year’s games in Samsun, Turkey, empty-handed.

“The Deaflympics actually recognised my age because I was the oldest athlete in all of the sports that competed,” she said.

Buehow said she had always loved sport and being active.

“When I was younger, I did athletics, then I did swimming,” she said.

“I did tennis and bowling was my fourth sport.

“It makes me happy.

“It hasn’t got harder, it’s the same as it’s always been.”

This week Buehow won four medals, with silvers in the doubles and trio and bronze in the individual women’s section and queens masters.

At times she found the conditions at Twin Cities Tenpin Bowl challenging.

“Oh look, it’s hard, sometimes when it’s oilier, the floor’s oilier, it makes it much heavier,” she said.

“Back at home the actual lanes are a bit smoother.

“So I think my score was a little bit lower because the lanes were a little bit heavier whereas back home, you know, I’m looking at a score of about 200 usually where it was only 150 here.”

Games organising committee sports co-ordinator Cindy-Lu Bailey said Buehow was well-known around the Deaf Games.

“Lots of people talk about Judy, she’s one of the oldest athletes we have here at the games and I think it’s amazing that she’s still playing at her age,” she said.

“I think she’s an amazing role model to many of the younger deaf youth who look up to her.

“I can’t believe she drove all the way from Brisbane to Albury-Wodonga.”

The Australian Deaf Games closing ceremony takes place on Saturday at The Cube Wodonga, although the event’s first-ever triathlon will be held Sunday morning at Allans Flat.