“I wouldn’t change a factor if I needed to do it over again. I might journey the identical route, select the identical course,” says nationwide boxing coach Gary Bowen who not too long ago retired from the Nationwide Sports activities Council after 25-years.
A lot of Barbados’ excellent boxers together with Olympians Marcus Thomas, Christopher ‘Shaka’ Henry, John Kellman, Shawn Terry Cox have all handed by the tutelage of coach Bowen.
Throughout an interview with Barbados TODAY, Bowen stated his best pleasure as a coach was to coach boxers who went on to symbolize Barbados and introduced success to the island.
“To see the Trident raised introduced tears to my eyes as a result of on a couple of event, the flag was held aloft. We had success at two Commonwealth Video games, we had success at Pan American Video games and these have been all medals. We additionally gained medals at CAC Video games and the World Army Video games. All these are boxers I ready,” Bowen recalled fondly.
Bowen is the one coach within the island to have educated Barbadian boxers for 3 consecutive Olympic Video games.
It began in 1992 with Marcus Thomas and Christopher ‘Shaka’ Henry on the Summer time Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Thomas featured once more on the 1996 Olympics for Barbados together with John Kellman, this time on the Atlanta Olympic Video games. And to prime it off Shawn Terry Cox represented Barbados in 2000 on the Sydney Summer time Olympics.
In 2006 Bowen additionally turned the primary coach in Barbados to win the Caribbean championship when the crew competed in Trinidad and Tobago.
One of the crucial established boxing coaches within the Caribbean, Bowen, holds a degree three Worldwide Boxing Affiliation (AIBA) teaching certificates which is the very best a coach can get in boxing.
He did programs in Germany the place he spent 5 months at Neipzig. Additionally, three months on the College of Hungary doing a global teaching course.
Along with working for a few years as a nationwide boxing coach, Bowen additionally educated Barbados Defence Power Sports activities Programme boxers.
Bowen additionally labored on the Nationwide Sports activities Council for over 20 years as a boxing coach and stated he by no means missed a single day of labor. Whereas employed on the NSC, Bowen was answerable for the faculties boxing program and described it as the most effective a part of his teaching.
The Breedy brothers Cobia and Jabali, Junior Greenidge, Anderson Emmanuel simply to call a number of have been educated by Bowen within the colleges’ program.
“I actually did get pleasure from working with numerous younger youngsters I got here throughout. Even as we speak once I go on the street, I hear somebody shouting ‘coach, coach’. It makes me really feel good as a result of alongside the best way I might need stated one thing significant to them. Or they did benefit from the boxing that I attempted to move on. So, there’s at all times a pleasure once they name and that makes me really feel good,” he stated.
Whereas there have been nice highs, there have been additionally low moments as Barbadian boxers began to characteristic in fewer competitions. Bowen highlighted the truth that instances have modified a lot that to journey and compete you could qualify for tournaments.
“Though we’re nonetheless qualifying, it’s nonetheless tougher for us as a result of we’re not getting the kind of common competitors which might take us to that degree. We nonetheless deliver success. However it’s now tougher. And it isn’t the affiliation’s fault or anybody’s fault. It’s simply how it’s proper now,” he defined.
Bowen who’s a member of the Barbados Boxing Affiliation (BBA) revealed that the native governing physique has some people with brilliant concepts and everybody has a component to play. He famous that one of many nice issues BBA continues to do is ship boxers to coaching camps abroad earlier than a significant competitors.
The nationwide coach needs to see extra people, particularly females, become involved in boxing. He stated nevertheless that the notion of boxing being a harmful sport will not be essentially the case.
“Security is a precedence in boxing. There are guidelines and laws that should be adopted as a way to make the game stay a secure sport.
“Elite boxing is security first. All the things is within the palms of the referees and they might have acquired a number of coaching and are at all times updated as regards to the foundations for security. However dad and mom don’t wish to imagine and that’s the reason we don’t have as many boxers as we did a few years in the past,” he famous.
Apparently, boxing was not Bowen’s past love or favorite sport. Like several true West Indian, he grew up in his native Guyana with a love for cricket. However as destiny would have it Bowen turned to boxing after entering into an accident a few years in the past and virtually misplaced two of his fingers.
It’s a chapter of his life that he has no regrets about as a result of he had the assist of his spouse Joyce Bowen who didn’t like the concept of him boxing however supported his enterprise as a coach.
They turned a boxing household as his spouse Joyce turned an government member of the BBA having served as president and likewise was an government member on the AIBA board.
One of many nice names in native boxing, the late Lionel Corridor additionally noticed potential in Bowen a few years in the past and inspired him to become involved. There have been many others alongside the best way who additionally confirmed confidence in Bowen and made him who he’s as we speak. He thanked the Barbados Olympic Affiliation, the Nationwide Sports activities Council, the Barbados Boxing Affiliation, the Barbados Defence Power and his spouse.
One factor Bowen want to see for native boxing is for the coaches to return collectively and function on the identical web page. He took time to encourage younger upcoming boxers to by no means let folks assume much less of them than what they considered themselves
As to his plans now that he’s retired, Bowen stated: “I’m nonetheless a member of the boxing affiliation, I’m nonetheless the nationwide coach. So, as quickly as COVID permits us to renew I will probably be proper there beginning over again as a result of I’ve seen coaches older than me do it.”