PODCAST: World single saw champion Bobby Dowling
For the thousands of spectators in the purpose-built concrete bowl which houses the chopping and sawing events at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show, it was only 18sec.
But for Southland’s Bobby Dowling, his father Kevin, who was riding the block alongside him, and his family in the stands, it was the culmination of years of frustration and no small amount of doubt.
Of those watching on at Sydney Olympic Park, only those close to Dowling could have known the arduous journey the southern axeman has travelled to reach the heights of the world hardwood championships, considered the greatest stage on the planet for traditional woodchopping.
Dowling has been destined for timber sport greatness since he first started chopping as an eight-year-old. Four years later, at just 12, the Log Logistics manager had gotten strong enough to lift a saw.
A Southland Boys’ High School first XV and New Zealand under 17 rugby player, Dowling would go on to represent his country in woodchopping at under 21 and senior level, winning a world title with the great Jason Wynyard in Sydney in 2010.
But a shattered ankle while competing in Canada nearly put paid to Dowling’s career. A bad back injury playing rugby caused even more frustration - in all he was out of competition for the best part of four years.
The road back from injury hasn't been an easy one, but Dowling hopes that this is just the start, that there will be a lot more championship moments over the next decade. You wouldn't bet against it.
Click the link above to listen to Dowling’s story. It’s a good one.