Ellen Falkner appointed High Performance Manager – Para Bowls

by Bowls Australia

English stalwart Ellen Falkner MBE has been appointed Bowls Australia’s (BA) new High Performance Manager – Para Bowls ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Falkner, 42, will commence in the position in early November and work closely with National Coach/Performance Director Gary Willis to lead the planning and integrated delivery of athlete performance service support to ensure sustained results.

The three-time English bowler of the year brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position, having amassed three Commonwealth Games gold medals, a World Bowls Championships gold and four World Bowls Tour Indoor titles since making her international debut in 2002.

Falkner, who will relocate to Australia for the position, boasts relevant experience in a similar role, having been the voluntary High Performance Coach for Disability Bowls England, as well as having nearly 20 years of professional experience working in sport development. 

The appointment adds further strength to the Jackaroos Para-Sport squad, who were crowned champions in both para-sport disciplines on the Gold Coast at bowls’ showpiece event in 2018, with Falkner’s position also assuming some coaching responsibilities.

Falkner, who was in England’s High Performance squad up until this appointment, received her Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) accolade last year for her contribution to the sport.

“This new role with Bowls Australia is a great opportunity to combine my playing, coaching and sport development experience to grow the reach of bowls to more people, ensure clear pathways are in place and help to showcase the very best of Para Bowls through supporting players to reach their full potential,” Falkner said.

“With the Olympics and Paralympics taking place in Brisbane in 2032, this is more important than ever, and would be a game changer for our sport across the globe if bowls was to be included.”

National Coach Willis said Falkner would bolster Australia’s medal prospects and strengthen the Jackaroos Para-Sport teams’ chance of replicating their golden success from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games three years ago.

“We are ecstatic to have appointed Ellen as part of our High Performance team, she brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and skill to the role,” Willis said.

“Her values are consistent with ours here at Bowls Australia and we think she is the perfect fit for our culture as we near the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“The Para-Bowls program is something that we hold in the highest regard and its success is paramount; Ellen’s appointment is a step closer to achieving more at an international level.

“There are increased opportunities through the development of our Para program and we are really focussed on attracting more people to our sport in this space.”

Falkner will work alongside a new-look High Performance team led by Willis, who took the reigns as National Coach/Performance Director at the start of the year, which also features Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Manager Sam Cox, who joined in November, National Assistant Coach Karen Murphy AM, who commenced in March, High Performance Manager Rebecca Van Asch, who assumed the role in June and High Performance Operations Manager Leah Lazzaro, who took on the elevated position in August.

BA congratulate Ellen Falkner MBE on her appointment.