Ana Dawson, a new member of the Isle of Man Sporting Excellence Programme, is making waves in the world of golf having progressed rapidly from her first competition when she was just eight years old.
The 13-year-old recalls, when aged nine, she used to wake up desperate to get some time on the golf course before school. Ana said: ‘I used to wake up my dad [Kelvin] at 6.30am and ask him to take me to play for an hour before school. Now I’m lucky to find some time during lunchtime and games lessons at school to practice and put in as many hours as possible.’
‘I probably play about 18-20 hours a week, more in the holidays and I fit in gym sessions and some other sports. I have played badminton for the island and really enjoy that too!’
Ana has just been selected for the England U16 squad based in Manchester, which means another 22 days across the year with the squad.
She explains: ‘I was a bit unsure if I would be selected having moved up from under 13, plus there have been some changes to the structure of the squads. After two days of selection, we didn’t know when we would hear and most of the other girls were 14 or 15 years old. When the letter arrived, I was really shocked and very happy!’
The first talent day for the Sporting Excellence Programme was the day after the first England u16 squad day in Manchester. Ana said: ‘I really enjoyed the whole weekend, I know being a part of the Sporting Excellence Programme will really help my preparation for major competitions in the future.’
So who is Ana’s inspiration?
“My dad, cousins and uncle all played, but I have also looked up to Annika Sorenstam, the Swedish golfer, probably the best ever, who also played on the men’s professional tour,’ she revealed.
Ana is clear about her next goal.
She said: ‘My aim is to make the England select squad and play internationally next year and just keep enjoying it!’
Launched in 2012, the Isle of Man Sporting Excellence Programme was created to inspire and prepare a new generation of sporting champions. Delivered by Kelly Holmes Education, the programme is supported by Creechurch Capital, Microgaming and SMP Partners, and brings together Isle of Man Sport, the Isle of Man Coaches Association and the Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association.