Dunfermline Press

West Fifers return home from World Dwarf Games with a haul of silverware

- By Ellidh Aitken Reporter ellidh.aitken@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk

VICTORIOUS West Fifers have returned from the World Dwarf Games in Germany with a host of medals.

At just eight-years-old, Molly Dawes is celebratin­g a haul of four gold awards, as well as two silvers and a bronze, after competing in a variety of events from track and field to swimming and football.

The Dalgety Bay youngster was also able to meet and exchange tokens with athletes from across the world.

Her mum, Caroline Dawes, says the experience has been “fantastic” to show Molly that she’s “not alone”, with her closest friend of a similar age living nearly three hours away in Oban.

Caroline said: “She was standing shoulder to shoulder with the other athletes, that’s an experience that she’s not had when she’s competed before so it’s really lovely to feel that it’s an even playing field for her.

“She met people from all over the world, she was speaking to French athletes and Canadians, Australian­s.

“They all swapped little tokens and gifts at the end.

“She’s really made friendship­s and bonds with other people, it was fantastic from that point of view.

“It was good for her to see that she’s not alone, it was a really comfortabl­e environmen­t to feel completely normal and to look around and see everyone of the same height and with the same conditions.”

Molly trains with Disability Sport Fife at Pitreavie in athletics and with Carnegie Swimming Club.

She regularly takes part in mainstream competitio­ns as well as Fife Disability and Scottish Disability, but is rarely afforded the opportunit­y to compete against others who share her condition.

Every year she also travels to Birmingham for the National Dwarf Games with the Dwarf Sports Associatio­n UK.

Caroline continued: “She usually wins medals there so she was probably quite optimistic that she was going to win.

“We were explaining to her that this was a much bigger competitio­n and that a lot more people were going to be there from around the world and not to expect to come back with something.

“I think she’s done really well and done us proud, it’s really boosted her confidence.”

And it’s not just confidence which she hopes Molly gains from sporting success - there are health benefits too due to her spinal problems and leg bowing.

Having been involved with Carnegie thanks to her two older siblings, Lewis and Chloe, Molly took up athletics with support from Hailey Davidson, an Inverkeith­ing mum who is Chair of DSA UK and runs has been regional coordinato­r for Scotland for the last eight years.

She and her two children - 14-year-old Skye and 18-year-old Finlay - also have dwarfism.

Hailey and Skye were in Cologne for the games and each competed in several events including track and field and badminton, boccia.

Finlay didn’t take part this year as he is in training with the GB Para power-lifting team for championsh­ips in Dubai.

Skye came home with nine medals - three gold, three silver and three bronze.

Caroline spoke of the benefits of linking up with other families affected by dwarfism:.

She said: “Other than the Davidsons in Inverkeith­ing, and they’re older, there is nobody else locally that she can meet up with and interact with.

“She’s made very close friends with a family who live in Oban, they have a little boy the same age as her, but that’s the closest that we can get to.

“She does feel a bit isolated and a bit different so that’s why the DSA has been fantastic in making these friendship­s through these events.

“It means that she’s got that support and hopefully as she gets older she can keep in touch and talk about issues if they come across any delaying or social issues during school.

“I think it’s invaluable for her to have those friends who are of a similar age and have the same condition and we just couldn’t find that locally because it is still a rare condition.

“It’s really good for us as well to meet other parents and speak to other parents.”

Molly has Achondropl­asia, the same form of dwarfism as her hero, Paralympia­n Ellie


Caroline said: “Ellie Simmonds was out in Cologne as well and Molly chatted to her, she always comes as she has a role in the DSA.

“We always try to get Molly to have a photo with her and a chat because she’s been a fantastic role model in terms of showing people that if you have Achondropl­asia you can still achieve great things and there are no limits on what you can go out there and do.

“It’s brilliant to have a positive role model like that because before Ellie came along and took the spotlight I think there were a lot of negative stereotype­s that go along with

dwarfism and I think she has done wonders for showing people such positivity around the condition.”

She continued: “We didn’t really know anything about the condition when she was diagnosed at six months.

“We had all sorts of worries about how she was going to get through life.

“Meeting Hailey and getting involved with the DSA and meeting other adults and children has been huge in comfort and we are kind of one big family.

“It’s so supportive from parents to parents and children to children.”

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 ?? ?? 14-year-old Skye competed in several events, winning nine medals, while eight-year-old Molly was hugely successful and returned with an array of medals.
14-year-old Skye competed in several events, winning nine medals, while eight-year-old Molly was hugely successful and returned with an array of medals.
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