Dowling back to the top

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Born and bred Southlander Bobby Dowling of Team New Zealand competes during the Team Competition of the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Championship at the Industrial Palace in Prague, Czech Republic on November 1, 2019. Photo: Supplied

AS a young boy, born and bred Southlander Bobby Dowling “wasn’t very good” at timber sports, he says.

More than a decade later, he has seven world titles to his name.

“I started competing at 8 years old because my brother and father competed. I grew into it at about 13, 14 years old and competed throughout Southland and Otago.”

He then went on to represent New Zealand in the under-21 team before winning his first world title at 22, he said.

“Dad helped me travel around to as many international events as possible, I competed in North America and Australia regularly.”

From sawing events to wood chopping, climbing and log rolling, timber sports had taken Dowling across the globe.

However, things took a turn for the worse when he shattered his ankle during a competition in Canada.

“I had to take a few years off from timber sports, I couldn’t work for a year.

“It was pretty tough, it was a hard time getting through that and it did mess with my head a bit.”

Despite concern over whether or not he would be able to return to the sport, Dowling did not just come back to it – he won four more world titles.

“I worked out I could actually saw better after my injury, so I decided to just focus on doing the sawing.”

Earlier this month, Dowling travelled with a team of four New Zealanders to Prague for the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS World Championships 2019.

With more than 100 competitors from about 24 countries, Dowling’s team took home the silver medal.

“It’s different competing in mainland Europe, there’s some good challenges and they put up the softest wood you can get.

“It levels the playing field because everyone’s on the same starting line.”

As for the future, his main goal now was to prepare for the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 2020.

“I want to thank my father for his support over the years, he’s been my main coach. STIHL do a lot for the sport too.”

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