Her competitive spirit is still burning, but Cessnock champion tenpin bowler Mary Marks says she was happy to settle for silver behind a young up-and-coming competitor at NSW State Special Olympics.
"She was such a lovely girl and I was really pleased she won," Marks, 54, said.
"I probably didn't compete as hard as I could, but it was wonderful to see how special it was for her to win gold."
A multiple national champion and world silver medalist, Marks said she planned to win gold the next time they met in competition would be for keeps.
That is likely to come at the national titles over the June long-weekend or the state titles in August.
It makes me feel young. I feel good when I play bowls.Mary Marks
"Next time I'm going to win gold," she said.
It was a huge year for Marks who represented Australia at the World Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi in which she won two silver and a bronze medal.
The experience and missing out on gold by just one point to her Canadian rival has Marks preparing already for a return match at the 2023 World Special Olympics in Germany.
Back at home, Marks competes every Monday night in the Hunter Valley Special Tenpin Bowling League.
"I've been bowling close to 40 years now," she said.
"It makes me feel young. I feel good when I play bowls."