Record-breaking success for young agility handlers and dogs at Junior Open Agility World Championships

The Young Kennel Club (YKC) Agility Team GB made history by winning three gold medals at the Junior Open Agility World Championships in Vantaa, Finland, which took place from 14-17 July.

13-year-old Taylor Lyon from Northampton won gold in the Medium Under 15 category with his Cocker Spaniel, Elliott, while 14-year-old Max Glover from Market Drayton, Shropshire took gold in the Medium Under 19 category with his crossbreed, Woody, earning the pair the title of Junior World Champions. Max also took overall bronze in the Large Under 19 category with Boost, a Border Collie, and a number of handlers also gained overall top 10 positions.

In addition, Team GB Purple, made up of Max, Taylor, 17-year-old Mariann Bayliss from Astley Burf, Worcestershire and 16-year-old Will Bacchus from Holsworthy, Devon also took gold in the Medium Team competition.

The Junior Open Agility World Championships attracted nearly 300 dogs and handlers from all over the world, with countries represented at the competition including the USA, Switzerland and Germany. This was the sixth time a junior team from Britain made up of YKC members had competed at the championships.

YKC Agility Team GB is sponsored by The Kennel Club, Natural Instinct, Galican and Dog Sports Derby. The coaching team consisted of Greg Derrett (team manager), Anthony Clarke (team coach), Victoria Fraser (team vet), Ann Roberts (safeguarding and support officer), and Tina Davies (results analyst), who travelled to Finland with them.

YKC Agility Team GB Manager, Greg Derrett said of their achievement: “Bringing home three gold medals from any World Championships is an amazing achievement and I’m exceptionally proud of our handlers.

“Not only that, but the camaraderie within the team and watching them bond since being selected in March to a totally cohesive unit with every single one of them playing their part in winning the medals has been great to witness. I am excited to see what they can no doubt achieve in their futures.”

Phil Keen, Managing Director of Natural Instinct, sponsor of YKC Agility Team GB, said: “Natural Instinct are proud to sponsor YKC Agility Team GB and were thrilled to learn of the success over the weekend in Finland with the team winning not one, not two but three gold medals. Performances by all were top class and we are extremely proud of all those who have competed. Well done!”

The European Open Junior Championship will be held in United Kingdom in 2023. Details of the squad selection process can be found on the Team GB website – thekennelclub.org.uk/agilityteamgb