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A Senior Division? What to do in the second half of a sports career

by on February 2, 2016

To tell someone they’re not allowed to do their sport…to show what they’ve been doing in the gym… that would drive you mad‘.

Previously on this blog we’ve highlighted the question of what happens to people who have built a career on a particular sport once they can no longer compete at peak levels of performance. Similar issues arise in ballet and other dance.  Sports commentary, fitness training, managing teams, and teaching others are all possible second careers but they’re not for everyone.

The question came up again recently with the announcement by Frank Bruno (as reported here in the Daily Mail) that he was seeking a return to the boxing ring, at the age of 54. The same article also included a statement by ‘experts’ warning that he should ‘absolutely not’ consider returning to boxing.

The issue was put to David Haye, a heavyweight boxer in the midst of a come-back from injury, in an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning (link here to the episode, interview starts at 2:30). He admitted to ‘mixed feelings‘ about the news that the British Boxing Board of Control had said that it would not grant a licence to Frank Bruno, with Haye clearly holding Bruno in genuine affection and regard. His suggested solution was the introduction of a senior division in boxing, echoing what happens in tennis and rugby. This he argued would allow Bruno – who he described as being in ‘fantastic condition‘ – a licence ‘as long as he fights someone his own age‘. Otherwise, he expressed the frustration – captured in the opening quote of this post – of not being able to do the one thing that you have trained to do since your teens.

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