The GB High Hopes team has won an overall bronze medal in the Large team competition at the FCI Agility World Championships.
Held in Turku, the World Championships saw hundreds of handlers and dogs take part over the weekend (19 to 22nd September), from 41 countries, including Australia and Chile, with a variety of breeds 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 follow and 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 a close competition, Team GB were also awarded fourth overall place in small dogs, with Lauren Langman from Okehamptom, 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 of the weekend included 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 had 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 is supported by the Kennel Club, Natural Instinct and Nottingham Trent University.
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.”