Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Meet Team IOW - Golf


Qualifying to represent the Island at a games can be a very special moment in a sporting career. Doing it twice is a brilliant achievement. But doing it for the second time 28 years after the first and in a completely different sport may just be unique!

Dawn Hodge was born on the Isle of Wight and attended Bembridge Primary School, Forelands Middle and Sandown High School. She was sporty from an early age and was a member of the Vectis swimming club, Ryde Harriers and Shanklin and Sandown Rowing Club. She represented the Island in both hockey and netball as well as athletics.

In 1989, at the age of 17 Dawn Hodge was selected to represent the Isle of Wight in Athletics at the Island Games staged on the Faroe Islands. She was a finalist in the 100m and 200m and returned home with a gold medal as part of the 4 x 400m relay team and a silver medal for the 4 x 100m. 28 years will have elapsed by the time the games are staged in Gotland next year, where Dawn will take her place as part of the Isle of Wight ladies golf team.

After leaving the Island to study for a degree in Sports Science at Leeds University she also moved away from competing in athletics. Whilst at University she was selected to play for England students at rugby, and went on to represent the South of England, and was selected for the Super 4’s -  the top 60 women rugby players in the country. Her sports science degree saw her take on the role of National Women’s Development Officer for English Basketball, National Development Officer for Sport England for their Governing Body Services Team, and then Major Events Consultant at UK Sport whilst continuing a playing ‘career’ at Blackheath Women’s Rugby Club for 6 years.

Dawn returned to the Island in the autumn of 2010. Having previously experienced golf through informal play with friends, she decided to pursue her interest in the sport further by joining Ryde Golf Club. Having reduced her handicap to 16 the end of 2012, she moved to Shanklin and Sandown Golf Club.

In 2015, She qualified for the England Golf Regional Medal Final held at Royal Blackheath Golf Club. There she posted a score of one under her handicap, beating a field of 120 golfers to become the South Regional Champion and qualify for the National Grand Medal final held at Frilford Heath where she finished 7th again one under her handicap. This competition saw her handicap cut to single figures for the first time.

2016 has been another successful season for Dawn, culminating in her posting the lowest score in a ladies’ qualifying competition for the course at Shanklin and Sandown Golf Club, with a gross 71, one under course par. This saw her handicap cut to 5. 

When she is not playing golf, she is busy running Lockslane Bistro in Bembridge.

When asked about her selection for the Island Games she said ‘I was really excited and honoured to be selected for the ladies’ golf team, it’s great to be able to compete both as an individual but also you know you are playing for the rest of the ladies team. As somebody who has always played team sports this is important to me and an opportunity I will relish. I know that the standard of golf will be exceptionally high at the games, but what a fantastic opportunity and experience – I really can’t wait’.

It would be a magnificent achievement if Dawn could add to her medals from the 1989 games!


Friday, 4 November 2016

Meet Team IOW - Swimming

 
(Photo by IW County Press)

What does it take to be a swimmer for the Isle of Wight in the NatWest Island Games? In short, it takes a lot of hard work and commitment. Megan King gets up early, she is the the pool for training at 6am, 3 times a week, swimming for 1.5 hours before heading to school and then 4 times a week she is back in the pool after school or in the evening for a further 2 hours in the water. Her weekends consist of more early morning training or competitions on the mainland. 

Megan who is a member of Seaclose Swimming Club built on her success at the World Youth Games in 2014, working 10 hours a week, in the pool, to be selected for the Island Games in Jersey 2015 and is continuing with her efforts in training to hopefully be selected for Gotland 2017. Since Jersey, Megan was invited to the British Summer Championships in 2015 and the National Championships in 2016 where she swam her favourite events, the 50m Freestyle and the 50m Backstroke.  Megan is rightfully looking forward to a successful 2017.

Megan was just 14 in Jersey where she was the youngest member of TeamIOW from any sport. She felt that being the youngest member of the whole IOW team was quite daunting at first but in the build up to the games found it was actually "pretty cool" to do interviews with both IW Radio and IW County Press. In Jersey she achieved 9th place in the 100m Backstroke and excellent result for the youngest member of the team.

Megan feels that competing at the Island Games has been one of the best swimming experiences she has had to date and credits the games with leading onto her competing in the British Championships. Her experience at the games shows what a great event they are and how it can motivate you for a future in sport.

Megan has recently taken part in phase 1 of the ‘Discover your Gold’ campaign. Where the British Olympic Squads are looking for girls across England, who already compete in sports, to try out for different categories. She was selected for ‘Discover your Power’ where they are looking for athletes in; Sprint Cycling, Skeleton and Sprint Canoe. She was one of 1500 people chosen from around 4000 applicants. Everyone was tested on their physical and mental abilities. The process took about 5 hours but was a great opportunity for her and shows that many sporting skills are transferrable. She will find out if she makes the next phase shortly.

Thinking back to her Jersey experience, Megan said "The community and atmosphere of the competition was incredible. I loved every moment of it. Although it was a very long, difficult week it was different to all of my other competitions and it wasn’t just on poolside 24/7. Meeting teams from different countries and trading badges and t-shirts with them was probably one of my favourite things about the games."

"Some of the people I met there, I occasionally see around poolside at other competitions even now. I would love to go to Gotland in 2017 and re live the experience all over again, in a different location with different people and learn about the culture whist being there. Oh! and of course hopefully beat my record of getting over 10 Pb’s that I gained in jersey and perhaps even making a final!"

Megan has won Gold at the Hampshire Championships for 50m freestyle in the Youth age group. She also has won bronze in 50m free at the Welsh Nationals, silver and bronze in 50m backstroke and bronze for 50 free at South East Regionals. 

Just making the finals in Gotland will be a huge ask for any swimmer as the event will take place in a 5 lane pool but Megan will be giving it everything to achieve her Personal Best times and hoping of the chance to swim for a medal in the games.

Please Support Megan and the rest of the team by donating to our crowdfunding appeal

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Sponsorship Announcement - ICRTouch

The IW Island Games Association are delighted to announce that Isle of Wight company ICRTouch have agreed to be the Team IOW uniform sponsors for the NatWest Island Games in Gotland 2017.

ICRTouch are a globally recognised EPOS Software brand which has always been firmly based here on the Island. It is wonderful that the company are able to support the games team through a significant sponsorship deal which will supply every member of the the team with Tracksuit, T Shirt and Shorts for use throughout the games particularly during the Opening, Closing and Medal Ceremonies.

The striking new design for the Team Uniform features the IW Flag together with the ICRTouch logo and will be instantly recognisable throughout the games.



The IWIGA have been undertaking a crowdfunding appeal through PledgeSports.org to raise the finance for the uniforms and it was through this appeal that ICRTouch became aware of the need for the IW Community to get behind their sporting team in a very positive manner. When the appeal was launched the IWIGA were hopeful that the Island’s renowned community spirit would come through and that funding would be found to help the whole team.

ICRTouch have agreed to fully fund the uniforms to the tune of £18,000, meaning that all monies raised through the crowdfunding appeal and other fundraising activities will go towards reducing the cost of attending the games for the 150 strong squad taking part in Gotland next June. Getting to Gotland will still cost in the region of £1,000 per person and the recent falls in currency markets have been increasing the cost of travel and accommodation so this sponsorship comes at just the right time.

Former IW competitors at the games include Kelly Sotherton who went on to win Olympic Bronze and Commonwealth Gold medals in Heptathlon, as well as Darren Mew, Andy Frost, Richard Wilson, Kieran Page and Jess Andrews who have all competed at Olympic and Commonwealth Games. These games provide a massive sporting opportunity for the young people of the Isle of Wight and are the highest level at which the Isle of Wight takes part in International sports in their own right. In Gotland next summer around 3,000 competitors from 24 Islands will take part in 14 sports making it one of the biggest multi-sport events in the world.

Colin Ringer, CEO of ICRTouch said;
“ICRTouch started in 1999 as a small EPOS software project that was supplied to pubs and restaurants around the Isle of Wight. Over the years it has since grown into a globally recognised brand that supplies a world leading suite of EPOS software products to not just the whole of the UK but many other countries also. We now employ around 20 members of staff made up predominantly of software developers, all of which live here on the Isle of Wight and will be moving to new much larger premises at the start of next year in Sandown.

“On a personal level; though I’m aware that I’ve worked hard and have taken the opportunities and risks as they have appeared to me, I also feel quite fortunate to have achieved what I’ve been able to achieve throughout my life. Furthermore; I’m proud of the Isle of Wight and I love where we live but it does make me feel very sad when I see some of the bad press that we’ve received recently. So I’ve been looking for something that we could invest in that would enable us to give back something to our Island and to young people in particular that will show the rest of the country that Islanders can actually go on to achieve great things! When I found out that Team IOW were in need of a grant to be able to compete in the 2017 island games I figured that this was a good way to achieve that goal but also it’s something that our company and staff can get properly behind whilst helping to promote our brand; I actually think this could be fun!”

Martin Goodall, Chairman of the IWIGA said;
“To have an internationally recognised company from the Isle of Wight providing this level of financial support to Team IOW is a real boost as we prepare for the games. To find a local business with global reach willing to support their team in this way is beyond our wildest dreams.

“We can’t thank ICRTouch enough for the support they are providing, they have gone the extra mile and more! The IW team have been without any council funding or other corporate sponsorship since the games were held here in 2011. It was a real possibility that without strong support from the IW Community that the chance to compete at this level for future generations of sporting talent would be lost.

“We would still ask the people and businesses of the Island to consider joining with ICRTouch in providing whatever financial support they can to help some amazing young sporting talent have their chance to shine on the International stage. The crowdfunding appeal will remain open for donations to ensure that everyone who is good enough to compete for the Island can get to the games. If lots of people can give a few pounds each then the team will really feel the support of the IW Community behind them as they prepare for the games over the next 8 months.”

To donate to the Team IOW crowdfunding appeal please go to https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/gotland-2017-island-games/

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Meet Team IOW - Athletics


High Jumper and Multi-Event Athlete, Charlie Button, aged 17, has always lived in the seaside town of Ryde. He trains at Sandown athletics track with the Isle of Wight Athletics Club twice a week with additional training a few times a week individually. Overall he trains for between 5 to 10 hours each week including a few trips each month to London to train for the Pole Vault. His favourite events include High Jump, Multi-Events and Hurdles but as with all multi-event athletes he will compete in a few other events. Next year he will be turning his attention to the Decathlon.

Charlie began competing competing when he was 11 and since then he has been national indoor and outdoor champion in high jump, as well as getting to nationals for hurdles. He has also competed at 2 English Schools finals in multi-events.

With a High Jump personal best of 1.93m (6’4”) Charlie is incredibly excited and enthusiastic to be be representing Team IOW at the NatWest Island Games in Gotland next June where he will be jumping with a good chance of a medal.

He said “When I found that I would be competing internationally where thousands of people all around the world would compete it was incredible. To work so hard for all this time and get the honour to compete with my team at an International competition for the first time is a fantastic contemplation and to go to a competition with the motto “Bringing islands together through sport” I know it couldn’t be a friendlier, more fun looking meet. 

“To experience the opening and closing ceremonies and embrace all Gotland has to offer, it’s hard to explain all the thoughts. The drive since knowing about Island Games qualification has helped push me to get the A standard in High Jump and I have high aims for next years games.”

“Adding such an event to my calendar has definitely helped me to work as hard as I can for next year in preparation. I can’t wait for this life changing experience on Sweden’s most popular island and I would like to thank the Isle of Wight Island Games Committee for giving me this opportunity.”

To support Charlie and other members of Team IOW please support our fundraising appeal at https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/gotland-2017-island-games/


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Meet Team IOW - Gymnastics



The Gotland NatWest Island Games will see an Isle of Wight Gymnast compete in the games for the first time in 22 years as 16 year old Ryde School Pupil Jack Humphray from Bembridge competes in the Artistic Gymnastics event.

Jack has lived on the Island for his whole life and was formerly a pupil and St. Helens Primary and Bishop Lovett Middle Schools before moving to Ryde School, where he is currently studying for A Levels. He will be our only competitor in this sport.

Jack started his gymnastic career aged 4 at Queensway Gym in Ryde. At 7 he went to Portsmouth to train where after a few months of recreational gymnastics he was asked to join the boys Mens Artistic Gymnastics squad.

His gymnastic career hasn't been straightforward with changing coaches, the availability of facilities and the logistics of Island living! It has been a massive commitment for both him and his family for many years. Jack currently trains for around 20 hours a week in Horndean, all of which is self funded.

Jack has had success regionally and nationally over the years. In 2013 he was Men's National Tumbling Champion.

In 2016 he has competed twice:  Firstly at the Southern Region Championships where he earned Silver overall with Gold on both High bar and Vault. His other competition was the Pipers Vale Challenge where he was 4th overall with a Silver on High Bar.

Jack says he is excited to be taking part in the Island Games as it's the first time he will have travelled abroad to compete. He is is delighted to have the opportunity to represent his home Island. He knows the competition will be strong but Jack's aim is to put in a good solid all round performance and see what happens. He is busy learning more complex skills on each piece. His favourites being Rings and Floor.

To support Jack and other members of Team IOW please support our fundraising appeal at https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/gotland-2017-island-games/

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Crowdfunding Appeal

We are delighted to announce the start of our Crowdfunding Campaign to raise money for Team Isle of Wight to attend the NatWest Island Games in Gotland 2017.

The campaign has been designed with great assistance from PledgeSports and we hope that everyone on or connected with the Isle of Wight will want to support their team in getting to the games. The team is currently self funded as we have no central funding so the cost of attending the games to represent the Island will be in the region of £1,000 for each person.

The appeal has an initial target of £15,000 to supply everyone on the team with their uniform of Tracksuit, T Shirt and Shorts. If this target is exceeded, funds will help to reduce the travel and accommodation costs of the whole team and provide them with medical/massage support during the games so that everyone can compete to the best of their ability.

To support the campaign please follow the attached link to donate and also please share the appeal as widely as you can via Facebook, Twitter or other social media in order that other people or businesses can also contribute.

Through this appeal the Isle of Wight Team will be powered by the Island on route to Gold in Gotland.

Thank you.

https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/gotland-2017-island-games/

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Update August 2016

As the summer progresses so are our plans for getting to Gotland next summer.

The visit to Gotland in June was informative and a report has been sent to all sports team managers for their information regarding the sports venues and the plans of the host Island. They are keen to host a successful games and we hope to be a big part of that event.

We have secured a Charter plane for getting to Gotland which might be more expensive than scheduled flights but will enable us to travel together in one trip, will save us significant amounts of time, will potentially save us an overnight stay at the Airport (thus making it cost effective anyway) but most importantly will enable our sports teams to get to the Island without lengthy and tiring travel meaning they are in the best possible condition to take part when the games begin.

Fund Raising:
We have commenced two fund raising ideas. Firstly that we should support those who are young, unemployed, living in Poverty or otherwise financially unable to attend but are good enough to attend the games. We believe the team should be the best sports team we can offer not just those in a financial position to take part and therefore we opened the Gotland Support Fund. We have been given donations from the Daisy Rich Trust and The High Sheriffs' Trust and with the money raised from the London Marathon by Gill Bushell and at the raffle at the IW Sport Awards this fund stands just over £3,200. We will be looking to sports managers to identify those in need of a grant from this fund once teams are selected. We have other charitable bids awaiting confirmation for this fund.

The second aim of our fund raising is to try and obtain sponsorship for the Tracksuits and Team Uniform. We have not been able to secure a business sponsor and so are looking to something different...

In September we will be launching a "Crowd Funding" campaign. This will enable anyone on the Island to make a donation of any level to support "Team IOW". The campaign will be based on line and shared through social and local media with the hope that everyone on the Island will get behind us to at least fund the Team Uniform. If you can spare just a single £1 then that would be great but if you can give £10, £25, £50 or more then that will really give the team a huge boost.

The launch will coincide with Isle of Wight Day and on 24th September we hope to be at one of the main IOW Day events with an IOW Flag for people to sign with their support and to make a donation to our Crowdfunding campaign.

Our sports teams are in the main part of their competitive seasons and as the Olympics are taking place it was great to see Jess Andrews compete for Team GB at both the European Championships and then again at the Olympics. Each time she set a new personal best time for the 10,000m track event. Hopefully she will return for Team IOW in Gotland but this will depend on her international commitments.

Also in Athletics it has been great to see the Progress of Nick Percy in throws as he won the NCAA title in the USA before returning to the UK to win the national Discus title. He has now thrown over 63m and we hope he will get into the world championships next year.

Abi Lacey swam to Gold at the ASA age group nationals this year with Lottie James also picking up a Silver. It is great to see these girls progress and we hope to see them both in Gotland next summer.

There is lots of great sport here to be proud of and we will be getting the team announcements from our sports from the Autumn.

Roll on Gotland, Bring on the Games!