The 2018 European Open Junior Agility Championships (EOJ) in The Netherlands attracted over 500 hundreds of dogs and handlers from all over the world from countries including the USA, Japan and Russia. This was the third time a Junior team, made up of YKC members, has represented Britain at this competition and there were Bronze medals galore. It was an experience of a lifetime. They learned a lot , made friends and, in the spirit of agility, they had fun!
The biggest event for Juniors all over the world was held in The Netherlands for the second time over the weekend of 13th - 15th July.
Lucas Irwin-Burns (16) and Sam, a Jack Russell/Cavalier King Charles Spaniel X brought home an Overall Bronze mdal in the Small Individual category. They placed 5th in the agility round and 12th in the Jumping round.
Other successes included Emilia Bowers (14) with her Border Collie, Squiffy who won a Bronze medal in the Individual Children Large Jumping round and Rory Tidmarsh (14) with his Border Collie, Sonic who took home a Bronze in the Junior Large Jumping round. In the Individual Medium Agility round, Camryn Macleod (17) and her Working Cocker Spaniel, Ruby also won Bronze.
The view of a first-time parent - Mike Bacon
On the long drive home I was trying to think of a word that describes our experience as first time parents at the European Open Junior Agility. The one that kept coming up was EXTREME.
Glenda and I are experienced European campaigners. I've competed in the Belgian Shepherd World Championships and managed the UK team for ten years while Glenda was my groom and assistant. We have been to the International Belgian Shepherd Agility Show in Holland and the FCI World Championships. We thought we were prepared. NOT.
This was indeed extreme – long days driving, very early starts and very late finishes - and we had only done 1 run per dog. Extreme heat and dust. Extreme lows when things were not going well, - venue changes, timing changes, and runs not gone to plan.
Some things evened out.
We though being camped away from the venue would be a problem. It was especially when the exit road closest to the venue was closed and a diversion was added but that was balanced out by the campsite being great - beautifully laid out with our own camping area, hot showers and electric hook-up even if you were in a tent as well as a swimming pool and café just outside. The organisers even had an 'orange coat' on site to help with any problems, translate and police any teams that got too rowdy. He could not have been more helpful and sociable.
The highs were even more extreme - successful runs, podium places, spontaneous dancing at any time of the day or night, international volley ball, dodge ball and whatever do you call the game Kate organised.
The international feeling was truly extreme. The ability of children from different countries to mingle while competing against each other was inspiring. Who would have guessed home-made wine could be so delicious. What country invented a sugar lump that makes your mouth go numb and what is slagroomtart.
The organisers were extreme. They dealt with the significant problems they encountered calmly (on the surface) and effectively. From the car park to the rings there was always a steward to help and how did they stay so cheerful.
The GB team were extreme. The way the juniors behaved and conducted themselves while still having a good time made us so proud. The parents, grooms and supporters mucked in and helped everyone like we had been friends for many years, not newly met. The management and coaching team were outstanding - always there in the right place, at the right time with the right thing to do or say.
Yes, the European Open Junior Agility is Extreme and I hope it stays that way for a long time to come.
Junior views - what we did and what we learned.
Summer Clark said, 'Representing Team GB at EOJ 2018 in the Netherlands was a truly amazing experience that I’ll never forget. The team spirit was incredible and it was so much fun spending the week with so many amazing friends, old and new. It has given me the opportunity to build friendships with like-minded people that will last a lifetime. I even made friends with some of the competitors from other countries, too. Team GB had some really impressive results and everyone looked awesome out there!
The support everyone gave each other was amazing and it was such a good feeling to have worked up to this point and be able to put in some fantastic runs for my country.
The management team have been so supportive leading up to and during the event and we couldn’t have done it without them. I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to represent Team GB at EOJ as it really is unlike any other competition.
Jack Ryan added, 'I thoroughly enjoyed the Junior European Open in The Netherlands. Me and Jet managed to get 16th in the Overall Individual competition, plus our Small team got 6th place in Agility & 9th overall.
On top of that, I made so great many friends from all over Europe and met up again with others I'd met the previous two years. I loved hanging out with them all and my British friends in the competition.
The mega Management Team
The coaching team consisted of Mark Laker (Team Manager), Paul Moore (Team Coach), Ann Roberts (Team Assistant), Neil Ellis (Team Co-ordinator), Josie Spurling (Team Co-ordinator) and Rachel Mowbray (Team Vet), who travelled to The Netherlands with them.
Agility Team GB Manager, Mark Laker said of their achievement: 'This has been a successful trip for the team. We’ve come away with podium places in individual classes, and a Bronze overall medal in the Small Individual competition. There was an amazing team spirit and camaraderie amongst the whole team with the handlers and parents being very supportive to each other. Thank you to the Kennel Club and our sponsors for investing in our country’s young handlers. Great Britain are a great team.'
Team Co-ordinator and inventor of the 'Nellis' celebration dance, Neil Ellis had a very personal tale to tell on the occasion of his graduation from University and his experience at the EOJ.
On FB he said, 'There are two reasons why I didn’t think a day like today would ever happen. Firstly University was something I was loath to even consider. It wasn’t for me. Being a practical guy meant I excluded such ideas as being pointless. How wrong was I. How amazing is it that decisions that at the time feel very small, can be so big. I was so pleased to be finally graduating from Surrey Uni with a First Class Honours in Bsc Adult Nursing!
The second? Purely down to the fact that I never thought I would be around to attend graduation, what with the EOJ’s clashing last year!
It shows you what can happen so quickly if you apply yourself and follow your ambitions, and also be willing to take on board advice and guidance. I think this ties in great as a reflection of the EOJ's. The whole team applied themselves admirably to the preparation and the finals to take away some fantastic results, and along the way learn some priceless life lessons and learn a little bit more about themselves, particularly how to execute the 'Nellis.'
I take great pride in being able to support the future of the sport and give back to a generation who will see it grow for many years to come. I am so proud of you all for what you have achieved and how you present yourself at these competitions, here’s to next year.
Thank you to the sponsors
YKC Agility Team GB is sponsored by the Kennel Club, CSJ Specialist Canine Feeds, DOG StreamZ, Nottingham Trent University, Agility1st, First Contact, Eurotunnel and Pet Rehab.
The European Open Junior Championship will be held in Switzerland in 2019. Details on the 2018 squad selection process will be available in due course.
For complete results, go to http://www.ykc.org.uk/media/9219/ykc-eoj-2018-results.pdf
First published 30th July 2018
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