Cara Honeychurch is one of Australia’s most successful tenpin bowlers. In recognition of her remarkable achievements in the sport, Honeychurch has been inducted into the prestigious Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
“It’s a tremendous honour. I think what’s so special about it is, it’s one thing to be inducted into your own sports hall of fame, but when you are in a general hall of fame like this, where you are amongst the legends of Australian sport, it’s very much a privilege and an honour.” said Honeychurch in reaction to the news.
Introduced to bowling at the age of 10, Honeychurch’s passion for the sport grew due to the uniqueness of the sport.
“The first time I bowled, I just loved it. It was unique and different from any other sport I had played before” explained Honeychurch
“I played many different sports as a child and had a go at everything. There was just something unique about bowling, and I really enjoyed it.
“I decided it was a sport I wanted to do a little bit more of and find out more about it, so I joined a junior league and got some coaching very early on, and that made all the difference. I developed, made a state team at 15 and progressed through the pathways from there.”
Honeychurch went on to be named rookie of the year by the Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) in 2000 After winning eight titles, including two majors, and was one of the most successful players on tour for over three years.
In addition to her outstanding PWBA titles, Honeychurch was the main force in putting tenpin bowling into the mainstream sector of Australia. In Northern Ireland in 1996, Honeychurch became the second Australian to win the Bowling World Cup and was one of the country’s unlikely heroes at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, becoming a triple gold medalist in her three events.
It’s clear that Honeychurch went on to achieve major sporting goals, but for the former bowler, two of her wins were particularly noteworthy.
“The Bowling World Cup I won in 1996 was really special as that was the goal, I wanted to achieve at the age of 10. It’s always really satisfying and rewarding to achieve a goal like that, particularly after so many years. I won that event at 24, so it was 14 years in the making,” explained Honeychurch.
“I also won the Australian Open three years in a row (99, 00, and 01), and that’s an open championship against the men. I’m very proud that I won three consecutive Australian Opens against not only the women, but also the men.”
With such a long history in the sport as both an athlete and sports administrator, Honeychurch has a lot of love and respect for the sport.
“Bowling is something everyone can do. On the face of it, it looks quite simple, and it is a great sport in terms of being able to pick the sport up and do it at a social level. It is an easy sport to learn but incredibly difficult to master” explained Honeychurch.
“I think what’s great about bowling is that you don’t have to be a certain size, height, or weight. It’s a sport everyone gets to participate in and be successful at. It does take a lot of dedication, training, hand-eye coordination, all of those types of things.
“The whole time in my career, I was always learning new things, and it kept me interested, engaged, and always trying to do better. I think it’s a combination of all those things that has made it a sport that I have absolutely loved for many years.” added Honeychurch.
After such a successful career in bowling, Honeychurch moved on to new adventures, but she is still recognised as a legend within the sport of tenpin bowling after leaving an amazing legacy.
“The unification of the sport in Cara’s time as an administrator was a critical achievement and legacy of her time off the lanes with Tenpin Bowling Australia,” said TBA Chief Executive Officer Rohan O’Neill.
“This has enabled the sport to be in a strong position to innovate and further advance the work done during her time as CEO.
“On the lanes, my sense from listening to people speak about Cara is that her focus and strength of character are often brought up. However, I’m sure many boys and girls watching Cara at the Commonwealth Games in 1998 took up the sport, so her ability to inspire people to take up the sport is for me her lasting legacy on the lanes,” added O’Neill.
Picking a favourite moment in her career is difficult because there were so many, but O’Neill considers Honeychurch’s performance at the Commonwealth Games in 1998 to be the best.
“As a sports lover, the success of the Australian team and particularly Cara, stands out. It’s quite incredible that whenever I meet someone new and explain where I work, more often than not, people will mention Cara Honeychurch and the Commonwealth Games. When on the rare occasion they don’t mention Cara, the reaction is usually how much fun tenpin bowling is! “
Being inducted into Sport Australia’s Hall of Fame is a major compliment and achievement for any athlete, but for Tenpin Bowling Australia, the induction of Honeychurch is an extraordinary boost of confidence. Both O’Neill and Jerome Joseph, Chairman of Tenpin Bowling Australia, agree that this induction is a major achievement. “Having Cara recognised through her achievements on the lanes is absolutely wonderful for the sport in Australia” explained TBA Chairman Jerome Joseph.
“We have bold ambitions as a sport to one day become an Olympic discipline and Cara’s recognition will support our vision and build on the incredible recreation and participation aspects of tenpin bowling in Australia.
“Having Cara recognised as the first tenpin bowler to be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame is ground-breaking. We, at Tenpin Bowling Australia, are incredibly proud of her achievements and congratulate Cara on this extraordinary achievement.” added Joseph.
Moving forward, Tenpin Bowling Australia are excited to see the benefits that this achievement will bring to the next generation of bowlers.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the recognition of Cara at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame will further inspire the next generation of athletes in tenpin bowling,” explained O’Neill. “That’s one of the reasons why the Sport Australia Hall of Fame is so important. It not only recognises incredible achievement in Australian sport, it also tells the stories of legends within the sport and provides motivation to the next generation who can dream of one day being in the same company as Cara Honeychurch.”
To read more about the story of Cara Honeychurch, head to the Sport Australia Hall of Fame website here.