The GB High Hopes team has won an overall bronze medal in the Large team competition at the FCI Agility World Championships on Friday 20th September, after competing against 33 other teams.
Held in Turku in Finland, the World Championships saw hundreds of handlers and dogs take part over the weekend (19th – 22nd September 2019), from 41 countries including Australia and Chile, with a variety of breeds competing including 186 Border Collies, as well as an English Toy Terrier, Lagotto Romagnolo and a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. GB High Hopes travelled with the Agility Team GB squad from the UK to Finland to take part in the championships.
Agility Team GB Manager, Mark Laker said: “I’m very pleased with the team’s performance across all heights at this year’s World Championships. Once again the dedication and commitment made by the handlers has been amazing which is reflected by our results. The handlers and coaching team would also like to thank all our followers and our sponsors who support the team.”
The team comprised team captain Natasha Wise from Northamptonshire and her Border Collie, Pebbles; Dan Shaw from Hertfordshire and his Border Collie, Geek; Dave Munnings from Oxfordshire and his Border Collie, Fame; and Naarah Cuddy from Devon and her Border Collie, Lemon.
Proud team captain, Natasha said: “I’m super proud of the effort, determination and cohesion this team showed to achieve this medal. Each team member added value in their own way and this resulted in our podium. All GB dogs shone brightly on the world stage and it was an honour to build and captain this strong team to the bronze medal.”
After close competition, Team GB were also awarded fourth overall place in the Small dogs, with Lauren Langman from Okehampton, Devon and Cocker Spaniel, Blink, placing 15th in jumping and 11th in agility. Lauren and Blink narrowly missed out on an overall bronze medal by one hundredth of a second.
Proud of their achievements, Lauren said: “Blink is a dream come true, a dog in a lifetime and my best friend. Team GB has always been a goal for me and Blink makes this all so achievable. I’m so grateful for the opportunity and would like to thank everyone involved.”
Other highlights over the weekend include Euan Paterson from Stonehaven, Scotland and Border Collie, Crazee, winning first place in the Large agility round, beating 130 other agility handlers and dogs. This is the first year Euan and Crazee have competed in Team GB. Euan said: “I honestly believe if you set yourself realistic goals and you have the belief and determination then anything is possible. I'm so grateful to have such a talented dog. Crazee is what makes this possible.”
Agility Team GB were chosen following this year’s squad selection process, which concluded at the Performance Weekend held at Arena UK, Grantham in April. Agility Team GB attended the European Open Agility Championships in the Netherlands at the end of July where all three large dog and handler teams made it through to the Team Large final, a first in Agility Team GB’s history. GB All4One placed fifth overall, whilst GB Darkside and GB High Hopes respectively placed 10th and 16th overall.
A spokesperson for Natural Instinct, sponsor of Agility Team GB, said: “On behalf of the team here at Natural Instinct, we’d like to congratulate everyone on their results at the Agility World Championships. We are very proud to sponsor this fantastic team and are excited to see what the future holds for these amazing athletes!”
Agility Team GB is supported by the Kennel Club, Natural Instinct and Nottingham Trent University.
The coaching team consisted of Mark Laker (Team Manager), Becky Sargent (Team Assistant), Martin Cavill (Technical Coach), Maria Johnston (Team Physiotherapist), Hana McNicholas (Team Vet), Ruth MacGill (Fitness coach/handler) and Gina Sansom (Kennel Club Senior Events Coordinator) who travelled to Finland with them.
The 2020 FCI Agility World Championships will be held in Tallinn, Estonia from 10th – 13th September 2020. The European Open Agility Championships 2020 will take place from 30th July – 2nd August at the Rutland Showground in the UK.