GENEVA — Last month the 2019 National Senior Games were held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, drawing over 15,000 athletes from across the country, including Geneva’s Abe Hara, 71. Hara didn’t only participate in the bowling competition, he came away with a silver medal.
“I didn’t really know I won the silver medal until everybody was coming up saying ‘Congratulations,’” Hara said. “I got nosed out by a pin for the gold by Donald Haurn of Ohio. I felt like it was a pretty good accomplishment for the first time doing something like that.”
Hara’s journey to get to the big stage began last June at the Empire State Senior Games in Cortland, where he finished second to qualify for the National Games this year. In New Mexico, Hara fashioned an overall score of 686 to solidify silver.
Next year’s Empire State Games will be the qualifying year for the 2021 National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Hara said he will continue to stay active and prep for the Empire State Games.
“Yes I will be trying to do it again,” Hara said. “I’m going to give it my best. This year’s game required more practice than I had anticipated. I had been practicing for about 3 1/2 weeks almost daily between Rochester and Syracuse at bowling centers.
“I’ll work as hard to get to that point again,” he said. “The motivation is to compete and to compete at that level. You always strive to be the best. I use to tell players that when I coached basketball. You work hard, and you work to be the best — and that means to win. My preparation might be a little bit more serious than what I had anticipated this year. I know the caliber now and what it’s going to be like.”
Hara wanted to acknowledge the supporters that helped get him to Albuquerque: they included his sisters, Bob McFadden of the Finger Lakes Federal Credit Union, Dr. George Abraham, and Claude Wright of Wright Distributors in Rochester. He even periodically took bowling tips from Doug Kent, former pro bowler.
With his 72nd birthday approaching this August, Hara is still active and loves to bowl all year round.
“I can’t throw it as hard as I once could, but I’m still competitive,” he said.