Grace College pupil is para-dressage champ

2009-12-11 00:00

“IT is important to stay committed to your dreams and work hard to achieve them, no matter what your circumstances.” These are the words of wisdom of Anthony Dawson, who was crowned champion during the Para-dressage South African Championships held in Cape Town recently.

Anthony (15), a grade 10 pupil at Grace College, suffers from cerebral palsy and cannot use his right arm effectively.

Despite his paralysis, he has gone on to win numerous competitions.

Having conquered South Africa, he is now looking at competing on the international circuit.

He recently won first prize at the SA Para-dressage competition — his third win this year — bringing the number of medals he has won to at least 152.

He says the competition was difficult.

“When I competed there I rode two horses; the first ride was terrible and the second ride was great.”

Anthony, who started riding when he was 18 months old as part of his therapy, says participating in competitions has taught him maturity and discipline and how to deal with life’s disappointments.

He says that since he has conquered the local equestrian challenge, he has set his sights on the international circuit, which he describes as difficult.

He has been invited to ride in England next year and is looking forward to that challenge.

Anthony is quick to point out, however, that horses and riding competitions will only be part of his life, not a professional career.

“I do not see riding as a professional career because there is no money in it.

“Once you pay the costs such as the stables and maintaining the horse, there is no more money left, so I would prefer to have a steady job.”

His mother, Jacqui, says she is proud of what her son has achieved.

“As a mother it is painful [that your son is partially paralysed], but he has achieved a lot and is doing it on his own.”

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