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Countdown to Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

DANAA CALLOW

Name: Danaa Callow (nee Myhill)

 Sport: Athletics

 CWG competed in: Edinburgh 1986 and Victoria 1994

How many times have you competed at the CWG’s?

2 - Edinburgh 1986 and Victoria and Canada 1994.

Most memorable?
Both but for different reasons! Edinburgh because I was 15 years old and so it was the biggest event I had competed in at that time. Also is was such an amazing experience attending the Queens Garden Party and living in the athletes village with my sporting idols! Canada because it was such a beautiful place and I was getting married a few weeks after the games!

How did you first get involved? What drew you in?
I enjoyed athletics at school and joined Western AC when it was first established which was when I was around 11 years old. I went away on trips with the club to compete in the UK and loved the competition side plus the friendships that taking part in sport brings. Those who started the club were very supportive and eventually around aged 15 I started competing individually at competitions in the UK. My older sister and brother were also athletes and in fact we all competed together in the Island Games in Guernsey in 1987.

Is it difficult to stay motivated?
Most of the time no, because there was always a goal to keep working towards and certainly in later years I was with a great training group so really enjoyed both training and competing. However I did struggle with a number of injuries which meant I missed some big events and found that difficult staying focussed and patient.

Did/do you have any significant role models?
My role model was Daley Thompson – an amazing athlete who I was lucky enough to meet!

Before the CWG’s did you compete in any other large sporting events?
Before my first games I had only taken part in the English Schools and also National age group championships. I had also unofficially taken part in the first Island Games held in the Isle of Man. Prior to the Victoria Games I had taken part in Island Games and also competed for England and Great Britain.

How does representing the IOM make you feel?
Immensely proud!!! Coming from a small Island to have the opportunity to represent the island on the world stage is such a fantastic achievement!

Do you think living on the IOM has influenced your sporting career? Support now/then? Managing nerves? Approach to sport changed?
I think there is better support now for sportspeople on the island so that they can receive advice and help without having to move away. I don’t believe we are quite there yet but since my sporting days support such as the Sports aid academy provide resources that were very limited previously.

Who has been your biggest support?
My club Western ac, Sports aid, coach Brian Maddrell and our friends at Sales Harriers Anne and Graham Marshall (who I virtually lived with during my time training and competing in the UK!)

What springs to mind when you think of Commonwealth Games? What is your fondest/funniest memory from the CWG’s?
Just what an absolute honour it was to compete at that level for my Island. Best memories probably include dancing with Prince Edward at the disco in the athletes village in Edinburgh and trying snail for the first time at the Queens Garden party!

Have you had to face any significant challenges leading up to a CWG’s? Injury… If so, how did you overcome this?
Yes I suffered a stress fracture and back injury which resulted in my missing the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games and 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Just time and patience and hard work in recovery is the only answer unfortunately along with staying focussed.

If you weren’t a (i.e- swimmer, gymnast, cyclist) what would you be and why?!
I would have loved to have tried cycling as I do now enjoy that and who knows if I would have followed that path instead?

What would be your advice for a young aspiring athlete to represent Team IOM?
Don’t be afraid to aim high and stay focussed. The path will be difficult and bumpy for sure but more than worthwhile in the end!