Name: Gemma Dawkins
Q1) What got you into the sport you are competing in at the Commonwealth Games?
I first got into athletics at the age of six and after winning my races at a school sports day, my sports teacher suggested that I go to Jersey Spartans Athletics Club. I had always been very sporty growing up and took part in lots of different sports throughout my teenage years such as hockey, netball and swimming, but there came a point where I had to decide which sport I wanted to dedicate myself to because I knew I couldn’t commit myself 100% to them all. It was at this time that I chose to focus on athletics, as I felt my heart lied with running as it was definitely the sport that I felt I enjoyed and excelled at the most.
Q2) What’s your main motivation for being an athlete?
My main motivation for being an athlete is seeing just what I can achieve when I dedicate myself to training hard. I love setting myself goals and being able to work on improving my performance times and achievements each season.
Q3) What do you enjoy most about being an athlete?
I love being able to travel to different competitions but, I also love working closely with my coach and churning out sessions. Whilst I often dread the difficult sessions I absolutely love it when I complete them, as I think about why I am doing it and remember that hard work pays off and that really gives me a great buzz. A buzz that I don’t really get from anything else.
Q4) What’s the best sporting advice you’ve been given?
There are two bits of advice that have really helped me:
1. Make sure you focus and acknowledge the process of trying to achieve your performance goals rather than just focusing on the goals themselves.
2. There is no point in doing something if you don’t enjoy it.
Q5) What have been your major highlights/achievements in your sport?
My major highlights and achievements have been:
1. Competing at the 2008 Youth Commonwealth Games in India Pune.
2. Winning the double in the 200m and the 400m at the 2009 Island Games in Aland.
3. Warm weather training with the GB team in Florida for five weeks.
4. Running a personal best and finishing 4th at English Schools two days after having won the double at the Island Games.
5. Running my personal best of 2.07 last season in the 800m.
Q6) Who has been most influential to you in your sport development and why?
The most influential person in my sport development has definitely got to be my mum. My mum has supported my love for athletics from the beginning and if it wasn’t for her then I wouldn’t have been able to take my athletics to a performance level as she has helped with all the funding of trips, training, competitions etc. Because of my mum’s support I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to work part time and dedicate myself to my training.
Q7) How is the Acorn Performance Pathway supporting you in your development?
The Acorn Performance Pathway has supported me by giving me funding to help cover the cost of travel to competitions. They have also offered me the opportunity to engage in mindfulness and other psychological support to help me with my performance.
Q8) Who is your sporting hero?
My sporting hero has got to be Jessica Ennis-Hill. I admire her as an athlete in terms of coming back from injury, as well as having a baby and winning Olympic and World titles.
Q9) What international sporting moment really stands out for you and why? E.g. Britain winning gold in…; Mo Farah; Lewis Hamilton winning F1 title?
The international sporting moment that really stands out for me is Dame Kelly Holmes winning a double gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. It was such an amazing run in terms of demonstrating just how powerful an athlete she was at the time as she came from the back to win.
Q10) What’s the most important element of your preparation? (E.g. nutrition, sleep, other…)
The most important element of my preparation has most definitely got to be making sure that I stay injury free and getting enough rest. I am very motivated and like to train hard but it’s important that I train SMART and make sure I do my stretches, yoga and get enough sleep.