A Look Back at the 2023 GENSB Junior International Tug of War Tournament
On the weekend of 19 August, the 2023 GENSB Junior International tug of war competition took place in Mannheim, Germany.
GENSB was founded in 1998 by Germany, England, Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium (hence the name “GENSB”). The spirit behind the tournament is to bring young athletes, between 12 and 19, from different countries together to compete at an international level. At the same time, international friendships are formed and tug of war gets introduced to the youth.
Every year, each GENSB country gets the opportunity to organise the GENSB tournament, usually on the last Saturday of August, with the event attracting junior teams not only from the 5 GENSB countries, but also other countries. This year, the GENSB competition was also joined by teams from Sweden, Republic of Ireland and Azerbaijan with a total of 31 junior teams taking part.
GENSB rules stipulate that the weight category is 560kg, teams can be single sex teams or mixed gender teams, can weigh in with between 7 and 10 pullers, and teams using female pullers get a bonus of an additional 10kg per female up to a maximum team weight limit of 600kg.
Four teams from England took part - Greyrigg from Cumbria, Northern Eagles A and B and South East Sharks.
England were the third largest squad at the competition with 38 juniors registered to take part in the event, which is the largest group of juniors we have had at a GENSB competition in recent years.
The competition was split into four groups, with the top four teams from each group progressing to the knock-out rounds. All four teams put in some great performances, with all of them progressing through the groups to the last 16 stage.
The South East Sharks team were made up of a team of nine. They started slow through the group but after adjusting their line up, they finished off well winning the last two pulls and progressed through their group in fourth place. They met Mosnang 1 from Switzerland in the last 16 where they lost 2 - 0 but should be proud of the character shown when their backs were against the wall.
Northern Eagles B were very strong and demonstrated great aggression through the rope. They started brilliantly wining early ends, pulled some good sides and came through the group comfortably in 3rd place. They met Dietenbach from the host country Germany in the last 16. With the home support behind them, the Germans narrowly took the pull 2-0. The pullers in this team gave 100% and should be proud of their fantastic achievements.
Greyrigg started really strong in their group leaving the strongest teams to the end where they picked up enough ends to secure third in the group beating their achievements from the previous occasion that the club took part in GENSB back in 2015.
In the knock-out rounds, Greyrigg came up against Northern Eagles A in the last 16 and put up a great hard fought battle just losing out 2-0 but they were over the moon to get as far as they did.
The Northern Eagles A team was formed by a team of 10 smaller pullers relying on fitness and the extra feet on the ground. The team faced Stans-Oberdorf 1 from Switzerland in their first match, losing by 2 ends to 0 so had to bounce back from losing the first match to get back into the competition. The team did just that, going on to win every remaining end in the group securing second place. Lining up an all England last 16 pull against Greyrigg where the result went their way earning a quarter final pull against Mosnang 1 from Switzerland. The support was behind them with all the English teams cheering them on making a fantastic atmosphere, the Swiss did what Swiss do best and pressed hard on the legs absorbing all the Eagles counter attacks not allowing them to get in at all in hard ground.
After the disappointment of losing out on the quarter final, the side were proud of their achievements and when the overall rankings were finalised, the Northern Eagles A team finished in 5th place out of 31 teams only losing to Swiss opposition. Northern Eagles B were ranked in 11th place, Greyrigg ranked in 12th place and South East Sharks ranked in 13th Place.
The semi finals were made up of four Swiss teams, with Ebersecken one winning the gold medal, Stans Oberdorf 1 winning silver, and Mosnang 1 winning bronze, with Mosnang 2 finishing in fourth place.
Well done to everyone - coaches, staff, parents, supporters and most importantly the pullers who made the trip a success.
England officials who officiated at the event were Pete Dyer, Wendy Dyer and Martin Collins.
At the end of the championships, the GENSB flag was handed over to England representative Pete Dyer, with England hosting the 2024 GENSB tournament on Saturday 24 August 2024 at Keele University in Staffordshire. This is an open club tournament and we would like to see as many teams and pullers as possible taking part in 2024, so watch this space for further info. This is a great opportunity for juniors to compete at an international competition on home soil, so we look forward to lots of teams and pullers from England getting involved!
If you would like to volunteer at the event or can help us with the organisation of the event/securing sponsors for the event, then please do get in touch with The Tug of War Association and let us know what you can help with.
Image credits: Michaela Koch on taken on behalf of GENSB
More images can be found here - https://www.flickr.com/photos/193175006@N07/albums/72177720310615947/page1