Lucas earns national team call-up
There was a time Lucas Protopapas never thought it would be possible to represent his country.
It is, and he will.
The Heatherdale Bowls Club teenager has been selected to represent Australia at the 2015 World Cerebral Palsy Games in Nottingham, England from August 6 to 16.
The 19-year-old’s selection to represent Australia in the bowls competition is a triumph for both he and Jack Moore, his coach and mentor for the past 10 years.
As a sport, Protopapas initially tried basketball and tennis. Then he was introduced to bowls by his mother Carol, and grandparents, Reg and Marion Stacker, who took him along to one of Heatherdale’s open days where he started with carpet bowls.
Moore, a coach at the club for 16 years, was impressed by the youngster’s personal qualities and his determination to do well, and committed himself to developing his bowling skills.
Protopapas has competed in both disability and open competition with great success.
Among his achievements are winning the under 25 Eastern Ranges Bowls Region Championship in 2012-13, and gold in the Multi Disability State Singles and Pairs in 2014-15.
At this year’s Australian Open, he qualified for the singles main draw, and reached the quarter-finals in the Multi Disability Pairs Championship.
Heatherdale recently hosted a fundraising trivia night, organised by his sister Nicole and her husband Alan. The function was attended by over 130 club members and family friends and raised almost $5,000.
In his thank-you speech, Protopapas said: “I guess having cerebral palsy has made my life a little different to other 19-year-olds.
“But to have the opportunity to travel overseas representing my disability is something I never thought possible.
“I hope other people with cerebral palsy can see how much I enjoy this sport and how many great people I have met.
“I hope this encourages them to have a go.”