Kiwi bowls legend Jo Edwards announces retirement

Jo Edwards.
Jo Edwards. Photo credit: Photosport

Three-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist Jo Edwards has announced her retirement from competitive bowls, following an illustrious two decades in the sport. 

Regarded as New Zealand's most successful bowler, Edwards ends her career with a record 646 caps for the Blackjacks, two world championships, three Commonwealth Games triumphs and an unprecedented six World Cup singles crowns since making her debut in 2001. 

The 50-year-old said coronavirus pandemic played a role in her decision, with so much uncertainty heading into 2021. 

Edwards had been hoping to add one more medal to her stellar collection at the world outdoor championships, but due to COVID-19, the tournament has been rescheduled for September 21 next year. 

She said it was a "tough" decision, but after lengthy discussions with her husband and former national coach Dave, she feels it's the right call.

"People have always told me 'you know when you know' - and that is definitely true," says Edwards. "It's always going to be hard and there is a definite sadness, but I also feel happy. 

"The [2020] World Championships event was always an aim. But it didn't go ahead this year and who knows about 2021. 

"But I also wanted to give Bowls New Zealand time to put together new teams - and I knew if I wasn't fully committed, then it wasn't going to work."

Edwards isn't sure what the future holds, but she has entered in some local casual events over the summer.