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Allcock brings a little rugby to lawn bowls

22 July 2002

Bowls legend Tony Allcock has enlisted the brains behind the British Lions rugby team in a bid to end southern-hemisphere dominance of the sport.

Tony Allcock

Tony Allcock: determined to catch up

Team England performance co-ordinator Allock quit competing to help bring English bowls into the modern era with an extensive fitness and nutrition regime.

Allcock, who is the current world indoor champion and has 14 major titles to his name, insists the programme, started 15 months ago, will reap rewards in the form of medals.

He said: “We got the players all the aspects of stretching, suppleness and stimulation - including weight training - that would help with the physical aspects of the game.

“The guy who was implementing it was Rex Hazledene, who worked with the British Lions.

“He has taken up bowls as well. So he had a perception of the needs of a bowler as an athlete.

“The weight training was limited. It’s a very fine motor sport, and if you over-tone the muscles you can interfere with technique.

“Image-wise, bowls has had a problem. People don’t think there’s a lot to it. But we’ve learnt the importance of fitness very quickly.

“The whole team have taken it on board. We’ve had a 15-month programme from nothing. I initially wondered whether they would, but they have all done well.

“England have had a taste for the first time of other countries who have clearly overtaken us in the medal league, like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

“They have all had funding and support for their athletes for a long time.

“At last we are getting the support we need, and now the baton has been handed to the athletes. It puts pressure on them, for them to return the goods and say ‘yes, we can do it’.”

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