Athlete profile: Cal Partington, Steve Partington
Home town / Village: Baldrine, Isle of Man.
Sport: Athletics – Race Walking
Club: Manx Harriers
How did you first being Race Walking?
We began participating in sport in Primary School in a variety of sports. Walking has very a strong history on the Isle of Man, with a lot of opportunities to get involved at junior level. We joined Manx Harriers in the early 1990’s with Alan Callow being our coach. We competed in lots of races growing up to gain experience and improve as athletes. Manx Airlines offered six scholarships each year to promising athletes to compete off island which provided an excellent to compete against the strongest athletes.
If you had to describe the Commonwealth Games in three words, what would they be?
‘Proud to Represent’
Representing the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games brings a lot of pressure as you want to make the island proud but also to achieve your personal goals. You set such high expectations in order to have a chance of winning a medal and putting the Isle of Man on the map!
Do you think the Commonwealth Games image has evolved since the Isle of Man first participated in Cardiff, 1958?
Absolutely! The level of professionalism has increased immensely and the Isle of Man set such high standards on their athletes to really make an impact on the global level. The Isle of Man isn’t there to just make up the numbers anymore. We look to improve our team ahead of every Commonwealth Games through our quality coaching and sporting infrastructure around the island to really develop our athletes.
What has been your favourite sporting moment whilst involved with CGA IOM?
‘Steve’ – For me personally, my best ever race was competing at Canada, 1994. I felt that I couldn’t have raced any better and couldn’t fault my performance! However, in a different capacity, I also thoroughly enjoyed being Team Manager at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. This was a totally different experience to competing and it was brilliant to be part of someone else’s experience and assist them with achieving their best performance at the games.
‘Cal’ – For me, Kuala Lumpur, 1998, I also experienced my strongest performance. Despite the conditions being so hot throughout the event, I very proud to finish my race and achieve such a strong time in the process.
What has been the most significant challenge you have faced in your preparation leading up to a sporting event? How did you overcome this?
I think for any athlete there is always such a fine line between being injured and being in your best condition. In the lead up to every event you are inevitably going to experience setbacks! You just have to make up for the times lost and work twice as hard to reach the standard you have set yourself!
What would be your advice for a young aspiring athlete aiming to represent Team Isle of Man?
You have to remember you always have a chance to sneak into the medals! This offers a good incentive before every race as it all comes down to who wants it more on the day! Besides having self-belief, there is no room for a slack approach to your training and preparation for upcoming events. You have to be in top form, well prepared and focused to deliver your best performance. You have to aim to be the best, not just setting your sights on being the best on the Isle of Man, but also in the UK and on the International stage.
For any aspiring athlete aiming to represent the Isle of Man on the international stage, you have to remember there are many excellent sporting opportunities and facilities on the Isle of Man, with very good coaches to develop you as an athlete. In the old days there use to be a steep jump from junior to senior level, this is not the case now. There are many age categories, ability levels and competitions to enter to develop confidence and performance. With the addition of the Commonwealth Youth Games, this offers a great stepping stone for young athletes aiming to obtain international experience being entering the Commonwealth Games. This is a very exciting time for youth potential on the island and we are seeing a rise in young athletes making a significant impact on the international stage.
Where do you see yourself in the future? What aims do you have?
Both aren’t competing now, mainly down to injuries and other commitments. Cal’s last competitive race was Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games and since then has competed in some fell running events on the island. For Steve, a focus is more so on coaching and developing athletes on the Isle of Man to reach the Commonwealth Games.