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Whitstable’s Sian Honnor backs Bowls’ Big Weekend’s drive to raise participation and says she has unfinished business with England if Commonwealth Games 2026 goes ahead

Sian Honnor is determined to add more Commonwealth medals to her collection - should the 2026 Games go ahead.

She won women’s triples gold at Birmingham 2022 to seal her fourth Commonwealth Games medal and continue her record of medalling at every Games since Delhi 2010.

Whitstable's Sian Honnor has medalled at every Commonwealth Games since 2010
Whitstable's Sian Honnor has medalled at every Commonwealth Games since 2010

Canterbury-born Honnor, 36, stepped back from the international scene after her glorious gold at Leamington Spa, with the mum-of-three pressing pause to prioritise family life, but says she has unfinished business in England colours.

“There are a lot of people who are younger than me who are nipping at my heels,” said Honnor, speaking ahead of Bowls’ Big Weekend 2024 from this Friday until Monday, May 27.

“I would need to fight to play for any England team - and rightly so - but I don’t feel like I’m quite done yet.

“I’ve travelled all over the world playing the sport I love. I have made some incredible friends, [had] some fantastic experiences and lots of memories that I can look back on.

“It’s incredible that, for me, it all started in the back garden of my grandparents’ house, playing carpet bowls.

“I have three young children so it’s a little bit different for me to some of the others. I’m very much hoping to be back in the fold from this summer onwards and will be making myself available for the international team for events coming up.

“It’s a little bit of a balancing act at times. I’m exceptionally lucky to have a very supportive husband, who I met through bowls, and he’s a very good player in his own right.

“He totally understands and encourages me to strive to do the best that I can.

“I want to set the example to my children that, if you put the hard work in, you can achieve your goal.”

Only David Bryant and Ellen Faulkner have won more than two Commonwealth lawn bowls golds for England - but Honnor, from Whitstable, would join that elite club should she finish top of the podium in 2026.

But her chance to do so is in peril, with the Games currently without a host after Victoria, Australia, pulled out in July last year and subsequent attempts to find a new home without success.

And Honnor admitted the Commonwealth Games being cancelled would be hugely detrimental to her sport.

“It’s the pinnacle,” she said. “We have a World Championships, as well, but the difference with the Commonwealth Games is that it’s a multi-sport event.

“It’s the only occasion where bowlers have the opportunity to be on a level playing field with other sportspeople and that’s so important.

“It would be so sad if the Commonwealth Games didn’t go ahead. It’s huge for us to showcase how exciting bowls can be and what it can offer to so many different people.”

Before then, however, Honnor is firmly focused on domestic matters, with Bowls England hosting their Bowls’ Big Weekend.

The event, partnered with Aviva, is back for a fourth year and bigger and better than ever, with clubs across the country holding open days to encourage new players to give the sport a go.

With more than three million people watching Bowls’ Big Weekend on national television last year, and more than 560 clubs on board, bowls will be taking over England for the 2024 event.

“There’s definitely an appetite for bowls, it’s a great family sport and something that everyone could come down and get the whole family involved with,” Honnor said. “There really is something for everyone - it’s very inclusive. It’s brilliant from that point of view.

“I can’t think of anything else I can play with my dad. My children can play with my parents and that’s very rare.

“Every club needs to attract members, recruitment is essential, as well as retaining the existing members.

“The one thing I say to people is why don’t you give it a go? Most people once they have a bowl in their hand, they think it’s going to be easy - it’s not - but they have another go to try and improve.

“If you get people to that stage, they get hooked.”

To find your nearest participating club and sign-up for a free session, go to bowlsbigweekend.com

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