A young sportsman has represented the island against the best fencers in the Commonwealth, helped by the support of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.
Philip Dobson competed in the Commonwealth Junior and Cadet Fencing Championship at Sport Central in Newcastle alongside participants from across the globe, including Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
The 15-year-old from Douglas finished a creditable 20th in the junior men’s foil event, 24th in the cadet epee and 28th in the cadet men’s foil competition.
In the past year, Philip has competed in more than 30 competitions in the UK, in Paris and in Hungary and has been supported by the Steam Packet Company’s Supported Sports Scheme throughout the sporting calendar.
He is otherwise self-funded but the Company extended the level of its support for the Championship, meeting the full cost of his travel to and from the island.
Philip was the only fencer selected for the Isle of Man, just months after he earned his first England cap as a member of the squad in the Marathon Fleuret 2018 in Paris.
He also claimed seventh place in the under 16s epee competition at the British Youth Championship in May - the best result from a fencer in the North-West of England.
Philip said: ‘It has been a dream of mine to represent the island in the Commonwealth Fencing Championship since I first became aware of it four years ago. To compete against fencers from five continents was a wonderful opportunity.
‘The competitions I’ve been involved in have helped my training significantly and the results then allowed me to meet the Commonwealth selection criteria. The Steam Packet Company support has been invaluable and I can’t thank them enough.
‘I’d also like to thank my training partner Jowi Szetu for the hard training and urging me to improve and to Jessie Crellin and her husband for help with the training venue.’
Mark Woodward, Chief Executive of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, added: ‘It is so encouraging to see a young man so committed to his fencing.
‘Philip has no coach, trains with a friend and his achievements are due to his determination and hard work. We are more than happy to help support him and see him thrive while representing the Isle of Man.’
Photograph: Fencer Philip Dobson pictured alongside Steam Packet Company Business Development Executive Richard Hird.