Meet the players: An interview with Mark Dawes
Mark Dawes started playing bowls when he was just six years old and is currently ranked in the top 10 of indoor bowls players worldwide.
He rose to the top of the World Indoor Bowls Championships in 2018 by winning in both the Singles and Pairs categories. He’ll be returning in 2019 to defend both of these titles.
We caught up with Mark to find out what it takes to be a World Indoor Bowls Champion.
1. How did you first get into playing bowls and how long have you been playing for?
I first got into playing bowls through my parents and grandparents when I was six - nearly 30 years ago! I started playing crown green and short mat before being taken by a family friend to the local indoor club when I was about 16. I’ve been hooked ever since.
2. How does it feel to be at the level you are, and how hard have you had to work to reach that level?
It is a fantastic feeling to be able to say that you are competing in a world championship in your chosen sport. I have had to work hard and have spent plenty of time driving up and down motorways to get to games of bowls. Living 45 miles from my club has offered challenges in itself but I do it for the love of the sport.
3. Many say that bowls is a sport for all. Would you encourage people to have a go at playing bowls?
Absolutely. The massive advantage bowls has is that you can play it whatever your age. It is a fantastic sport, which is much more skilful then most people envisage (ask anyone who has tried for the first time!) In addition, it is a very friendly community and I have made some lifelong friends through the sport.
4. Do you prefer playing indoor or lawn bowls?
Indoor. I only play indoor nowadays due to the year around commitment being difficult with me having two boys. I chose indoor partially because I enjoyed it more and partially so I didn’t get cold and wet playing in the great English summer!
5. How many bowls do you have and what brand are they?
I am very fortunate to be sponsored by a bowls manufacturer (Henselite) and as such, I have six different sets of their bowls. They are all in the Tiger range (Tiger, Pro & Evo) and I have the differing sets to use depending on the speed of the carpet.
6. Are you excited to be competing in the Just 2019 World Indoor Bowls Championships?
Yes, incredibly excited. To be coming back to the tournament as defending champion in two events will be amazing and I can’t wait. The World Championships is a fantastic way to start the year and I am really looking forward to it.
7. Are there any other competitors you’re excited to see play? Or any matches you’re particularly excited about?
The standard is incredibly high so all matches should be a good watch. I like the pairs format to watch as you get interaction between the players and the crowd get to hear what shots the players are going to play.
8. How have you been preparing for the competition?
Practising hard with a combination of individual practice sessions and the progressive national competitions that there are.
9. What do you enjoy the most about competing at the World Indoor Bowls Championships?
The crowds are the biggest you play in front of by far and the venue is excellent. That coupled with the fact that it is arguably the most prestigious prize in the indoor game makes it enjoyable. This coupled with the fact that you can interact with the crowd around the venue makes it a very special tournament.
10. Do you have any predictions for the Championships that you’d like to share?
I’m not a big fan of making predictions, especially whilst being in the tournament myself. However I think everyone is trying to get over that first round hurdle and once people have done that it will become clearer who is on form.
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