Team England Wrestler Charlie Bowling has seen his normal training and competing schedule severely affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite these knock backs, the man from Wigan has not only found a way to adapt his training at home, but also utilise his natural surroundings and turn it into a full-time job on his family farm.

“It was tough at first because my main income is from coaching wrestling and that’s all I did all day, if I wasn’t training it was some form of activity around wrestling.” Bowling said.

“So, I had to switch my focus to another form of training. I realised how lucky I was to live where I was in the countryside with all that space to keep myself ticking over, so I was finding stuff around the farm to train with, tractor tyres, bell wraps, ropes and even a forklift truck. I had pretty much everything I needed really to have a good training session.”

After posting videos of his new adopted Wrestling training locations on social media, Bowling started to receive compliments from friends and supporters. He decided to make his home crafted workouts into a business and began inviting friends to train with him once lockdown restrictions started to lift.

“It all came together, I branded it as ‘Farmer Strong’ and over the last two months or so it’s just been growing and growing every week. It turned into what was just something for lockdown has turned into a full-time job for me.”

These home training sessions have been a welcome call for Bowling who hasn’t been able to return to full time wrestling training due to the nature of the sport and the social distancing restrictions still in place.

“We are not too sure when things will fall back into place. We had a fitness testing session with British Wrestling on Saturday but that was all socially distance, and fitness related, so it could be a while yet. All the competitions have been cancelled for this year, there is one in November in Poland which is hoping to go ahead but I’m not keeping my hopes up too much. It’s pretty hard because you can do as much fitness and strength training as you want but nothing comes close to doing the real thing.”

Focused on Birmingham

With a 2020 season decimated the thoughts of a home Games at Birmingham 2022 are at the forefront of his mind. With Bowling regularly wrestling in mainland Europe during the season, the opportunity to compete at home is a massive incentive.

“It’s a big goal for everyone involved in the team. I’m just looking forward to seeing where the journey takes me leading up to Birmingham, that’s going to be the next goal. I’m really looking forward to having the support of my family and friends there in attendance. Because we only compete twice a year on a big stage at home at the British and English Championships, a lot of the competitions that we enter are overseas to get better competition. They never host World or European Championships in the UK so the Commonwealths will be a pretty big deal.”

Gold Coast memories

Having experienced a Commonwealth Games two years ago at the Gold Coast 2018, Bowling will be keen to step back on the podium once again having brought home a bronze medal from Australia last time out.

“For us wrestlers, it’s the pinnacle for the sport in this country. Being at the Commonwealth Games, it’s what we are aiming for and training for, it’s such a big occasion for us to be at a multi-sport event."

"There isn’t a day or week go by where I don’t think about Gold Coast and how good an experience it was being there with your teammates and friends. You couldn’t have picked a better place in the Commonwealth to host a Games.”

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