The global pandemic might have starved Lorraine Kuhler of a World Bowls Championships debut, but a hectic few months away from the green haven’t allowed the Goring-by-Sea star to dwell on that disappointment.
Lorraine, who celebrates her 31st birthday today, stormed to Atlantic Championships gold in the women’s triples event in 2019 with Jamie-Lea Winch and Sian Honnor, earning her first selection for the global competition in the Gold Coast last year.
The coronavirus outbreak put a halt to those plans while also ramping up her workload at Brighton & Hove City Council, for whom she manages the transactional finance functions.
Purchasing her first property has also kept Kuhler busy, but with restrictions steadily easing she is focused on re-establishing herself on the international stage – and securing selection for next summer’s home Commonwealth Games.
“Working for local government has meant it’s been a very busy period for me, with everything that’s been going on,” said Kuhler.
“I’ve just moved into a new house so that’s kept me occupied for the last six months as well, so even though there’s been less going on on the bowling green I’ve had plenty to do!
“It has been tough, in terms of my sport. I’ve played bowls for nearly 20 years now and I’d finally earned the opportunity to compete at the World Championships, and we’re in a scenario where I might not play in the event.
“But I’ve dusted myself off and I’m looking at competing at a first Commonwealth Games. I suffered a career-threatening injury in 2017 so to come back from that and compete in Birmingham next summer would be phenomenal – I could barely put it into words.”
Despite living on the south coast Kuhler represents Oxford City and County, and she believes the recent Bowls’ Big Weekend initiative is a crucial tool in engaging people in the sport following Covid-19.
She added: “A high percentage of new players get involved off the back of open days, and I think Bowls’ Big Weekend is a great initiative – especially after all of the issues with Covid-19.
“With the Commonwealth Games on the horizon now is a great opportunity to celebrate our sport, and encourage people to come down and get involved.
“I’m certainly geared up for next summer. I’m getting my head down, keeping myself fit and trying to do everything off the green as well as on it to make sure I put myself in the best possible position to get selected.”
Over 600 Bowls England affiliated clubs across the country signed up to open their doors to the public over the recent bank holiday weekend, allowing individuals of all ages and backgrounds to try a new sport, have some fun and meet new people in a safe and Covid-secure environment.
You can also be part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, as we have teamed up with Birmingham 2022 to provide an opportunity for our members to volunteer.
As part of the Commonwealth Collective, you’ll be the public face of Birmingham 2022, the heart and soul of the Games experience for athletes, officials, spectators, and a global audience of more than one billion.