Olympic boxer trades in gloves for lawn bowls

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Vanessa Bacon-Hall


What do boxing and lawn bowls have in common? For Brad Hore – a dual Olympian and Commonwealth Games athlete, the game of lawn bowls is now where the ex-boxer is focusing his time, with the Coolum Beach Bowls Club fortunate to have the motivated ex-professional athlete representing the club.

Brad explains that with the game of bowls it’s mentally comparable to boxing and a good challenge.

“It’s a game like boxing where you have to work out a way to beat someone and when I was at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 I met some really great bowlers and I thought about taking up bowls after my boxing career – I’d love to make a Commonwealth Games in bowls, but I’m a long way off that!”

Brad is amongst other bowls competitions currently playing in the ‘Club Fours’ with his team making the club final and confident of their chances to move on and represent Coolum at the regional and then district Fours competition.

No stranger to competition, Brad made his first Olympics at just 17 – representing Australia at the Sydney 2000 games in the light-flyweight division.

“I didn’t do the best at Sydney – I was too heavy and didn’t make weight, but it is something I will never forget – 11,0000 people cheering during the opening ceremony!”

“At the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 I went in at 51kgs (fly weight) – my goal was just to make the team, which I did and then at Athens in 2004 I was happy with my performance – it meant something to make another Olympics and make weight,” Brad said.

During his professional boxing career Brad won 175 fights, seven Australian titles, 11 state titles and two golden gloves, but equally impressive is his passionate involvement in improving the lives of his community.

A proud Indigenous athlete, Brad now also works with the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) ‘Unleashed’ Program where ex-athletes talk to school children about their sporting careers and the benefits of sport. 

Brad is using his past experience to educate his community on the benefits of leading a healthy life and making positive life choices, with a focus on quitting smoking amongst indigenous peoples.

With Indigenous Australians nearly three times as likely to smoke and almost twice as likely to have a disability or restrictive long-term health condition in comparison to non-Indigenous Australians, Hore is determined to bridge the health gap.

“We speak to all kids but I usually go out to the Indigenous communities.

“I’ve been to Aurukun, Uluru, Thursday Island and I love it – I only have to be there for an hour, but I end up spending all day there.”

Brad further explains that he also gets just as much back from his work with the AOC program.

“To be given the opportunity to go to these communities and tell your story could change one life and their dreams to go for it.

“I love hanging out with the students and I learn so much from them and to see the smile on their faces is priceless.”

Brad’s passion for sport and good nature is something that his team mates at Coolum are happy to praise with friend and team member Mark Prosser highlighting.

“He is a really great bowler and he’s got that nature of ability and is always encouraging others,” Mark said.

A refurbishment at Caloundra where Brad was originally playing turns out was a coup for Coolum with Brad now playing for Coolum for just over a year and it does not look like he is going to be moving clubs anytime soon.

“I just love it – it’s a really friendly club here and everyone is treated equally.”

Dual Olympian and Commonwealth Games boxing athlete Brad Hore is proudly representing the Coolum Beach Bowls Club in the Club Fours competition, with the team, (from left) Mark Prosser, Brad Hore, Jason Thomas and Ian Hansen into the final. Brad also spends his time working with the Australian Olympic Committee’s ‘Unleashed’ program where ex-athletes talk to school students about their sporting careers – Brad spends his time going out to Indigenous communities to educate his community on the health benefits and positive life experiences from sport. Photo: Vanessa Bacon-Hall

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