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A week to remember...   

This year's IFCS World Agility Championships were held in the town of Bourgbarré, France from the 1st - 5th May. Thirteen countries were there to compete over the five days in Individual and Team events. Great Britain took a team of 30 dogs and handlers with a mix of heights, jumping 250, 300, 400, 500 and 600. Amy Bennett and World Champion Neva were there to defend their title.

The Team GB travelled over to France and met up for training on Monday and Tuesday, giving the dogs and handlers time to acclimatise to the arena surface and equipment prior to the competition which was starting on Wednesday, The team was looking amazing and everyone was looking forward to the opening ceremony.

Wednesday

The afternoon started with the opening ceremony when the host introduced all the countries. Then it was straight into Biathlon Agility. Team GB put in some incredible runs and so it felt as if the competition had really begun. Many of our team members finished in the top 10, giving them great potential for the second Biathlon round at the end of the week.

The Snooker course was testing. It was set to achieve good opening points and allow maximum closing points in the time allocated. The support the team showed for each other was great, and the tactics led to our first lot of medals. It was an incredible start for the handlers and the team!

  • Helen Roberts with Popsie taking Bronze in the 250 height

  • Claire Chappell with Link taking Bronze in the 400 height

Onto the afternoon and the start of the Team events, which consisted of teams of three running over an Individual Agility course. We put forward five teams and they really showed what GB was made of.

  • Sid Gates with Dex running the fastest time in the 300 height

  • Dawn Weaver with Vegas running the fastest time in the 400 height

  • Toni Smith with Febe running the fastest time in the 500 height

What a great achievement it was for our teams!

Friday

Individual day started with an Agility round in the morning. It was an incredibly fast and clever course which saw lots of amazing dogs showing exceptional skills. GB cleaned up with three Golds and a Bronze, making our team so proud.

  • Helen Roberts with Popsie taking Bronze in the 250 height

  • Louise Godwin with Drift taking Gold in 300 height

  • Dawn Weaver with Vegas taking Gold in 400 height

  • Lindsay Spring with Bam taking Gold in 500 height

In the afternoon, there was an Individual Jumping round with another fast and furious course that required a high level of skill to get you round.

While there were lots of Es, taking out some very cool partnerships, once again GB performed well and came away with some great results.

  • Amy Bennett with Neva taking Gold in the 250 height

  • Martin Tait with Tally taking Silver in the 300 height

  • Mark De Dussen with Skadi taking Gold in the 500 height

What a triumph!

Saturday

This was Gamblers day and the team was ready with lots of talk about tactics. Lots of team members had planned courses which they shared with each other. This paid off as the team again took medals in this round.

  • Amy Bennett with Neva taking Silver in the 250 height

  • Louise Godwin with Drift taking Gold in the 300 height

  • Martin Tait with Tatty taking Silver in the 300 height

  • Toni Smith with Febe taking Bronze in the 500 height

It was an incredible achievement by all!

The Team Jumping was next in the afternoon with a very tricky course which caught out lots of teams. It was relentless and watching dog after dog trying so hard was exhausting. Team GB put in some great runs and came away with some top 10 placings over the five heights and putting one of our teams into a high placing after two rounds.

Sunday

The last day of competition started with the Biathlon Jumping final, another fast and testing but fun course. GB took it in our stride. The support shown for everyone kept spirits and energy high on the last day. It was uplifting.

We were all pleased to see Sid and Dex take the pressure and shine on their way to Gold Overall. It was such an incredible achievement, and everyone was proud of them.

Then onto the Team relay which was a lot of fun. GB had one team in a very high place and we had high hopes but unfortunately it was not meant to be. All the dogs in the Teams, however, looked very cool out there showing what they were made of.

The competition finished off with the all the results from both Games classes and the Individual Jumping and Agility rounds being combined. We were ecstatic to see Team GB with their well-earned spots on the podium.

  • Helen Roberts with Popsie taking Silver in the 250 height

  • Becky Foster with Bindy taking Silver in the 400 height

  • Stuart Doughty with Riggs taking Silver in the 600 height

Overall Results

This GB team showed so much support and care for each other, willing and pushing each other to achieve, picking each other up when we were down and giving the pep talks we needed to get on track before every run. The Team spirit really showed in the results

GB came home with 17 medals in total.

  • Gold - 7

  • Silver - 6

  • Bronze - 4

I couldn't be prouder of my team mates for all the hard work they put in over the week. Whether they took a medal home or not, they all showed they totally deserved to be on the team and they represented GB with great pride.

Thank you

Massive thanks have to go to Team Manager Dawn Weaver and Team Coach Dave Russell for organising and planning and for keeping us all informed and motivated throughout the week. Without them, the team would not have been possible.

Also a huge thank you to Ceri Jones for all her work behind the scenes and for making the team suited and booted and looking incredible in the team kit. And to my teammates, thanks for making it a week to remember.

One last time... Who are we? Team GB!

 

About the author...
Amy Bennett runs Wild Thing Dogs Training in Buckinghamshire.

Photo credits: Various members of the team

First published 15th June 2024

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