2023 Junior World Championships Results
2023 once again saw England compete at the World Championships, this time in Sursee, Switzerland, with a contingent of junior women and junior men who were again looking to pick up medals after picking up two medals at the 2022 World Championships in the Netherlands. This was the third international of the year attended by England juniors, having taken part in a test match and tour in South Africa back in March, and more recently, having travelled to Germany for the GENSB tournament.
The England juniors competed in the junior women, junior men and junior mixed competitions with two teams taking part in the junior mixed competition. England juniors competed as Northern Eagles and South East Sharks over the two days of open competition.
In the junior mixed competition, this weight class was pulled as a straight group, with Northern Eagles finishing higher up the rankings than South East Sharks, although this year, the team wasn’t able to repeat the bronze medal achievement from 2022, still finishing in a strong sixth place overall. South East Sharks finished in 8th position.
The junior mixed was won by Robertson High School from South Africa, with Mertensmannen from Belgium winning silver and Oakdale from South Africa winning bronze.
The junior mens competition was split into two groups, with the top two teams from each group progressing. Northern Eagles were drawn into the group containing GENSB winners Ebersecken, GENSB runners up Stans-Oberdorf from Switzerland, Luthern from Switzerland, Mertensmannen from Belgium, Okia from the Netherlands and Oakdale B from South Africa. It was a strong group and tough going for the Northern Eagles team with the team claiming 6th place overall in the group.
The junior mens competition was won by Oakdale A from South Africa, with Oakdale B winning silver and Shou Shan from Chinese Taipei winning bronze.
The junior ladies, competing as Northern Eagles were England’s final chance of a medal in the junior open competition and after finishing in fourth place in 2022, the team performed strongly in the group rounds to finish in second place and progress to the semi-finals.
In the semi-final, the team defeated Ebersecken from Switzerland to reach the final with a chance to win the gold medal. In the final, the team faced defending champions Ayrshire from Scotland. The final was close, going to three ends. Northern Eagles took the first end, however Ayrshire took the second two ends to take the gold medal. Whilst it is always disappointing to miss out on the gold medal, reaching the final and improving on the fourth place in 2022 to win a world open silver medal is a fantastic achievement. Congratulations to all involved.
The Saturday and Sunday saw England field junior teams in all three junior weight classes – junior men 560kg, junior women 480kg and junior mixed 520kg.
The first competition on Saturday was the junior mixed 520kg. England went into this competition with high hopes in a straight group competition, and in a competitive field, the team finished in fifth place to miss out on a spot in the semi finals. The eventual gold medallists were Belgium, with Chinese Taipei winning silver and South Africa the bronze.
The Sunday saw the junior mens competition take place, along with the junior womens competition.
The junior mens competition was first up with the competition pulled in one large group. It was again a very competitive competition with not a huge amount to choose between the teams. Unfortunately England didn’t make the top four to progress to the semi-finals, and achieved 7th place overall. This was probably one of the most competitive junior competitions there has been for a number of years, so much so, that traditionally strong junior teams from Switzerland and Germany didn’t progress through to the semi-finals. The eventual gold medal winners were South Africa, with Chinese Taipei winning silver and Belgium winning bronze.
In the afternoon, the England junior women were looking to win another medal, and in a tough group, reached the top four to progress to the semi-finals along with Chinese Taipei, Switzerland and Scotland. In the semi final, England were defeated by Switzerland, so went into the bronze medal match against Scotland. Both sides contained most of the pullers involved in the final of the open competition, so this was all set to be another close match. This time, the match was determined over two ends, and it was England who attacked hard on the drop over both ends to put in a really determined performance to take the bronze medal by 2 ends to 0 and secure a second medal for the England junior squads across the weekend. The gold medal winners were Chinese Taipei and the silver medallists were Switzerland.
Congratulations to all of the juniors for their efforts at the World Championships, and all of the coaches, parents, supporters and sponsors who made this possible.
This competition marked the end of another good year of strong progress for England junior tug of war, with a good tour of South Africa in March yielding a gold and silver medal in the test matches there, a good performance at GENSB, with four teams bringing in overall rankings of 5th, 11th, 12th and 13th, and finally, taking home a silver and bronze medal from the world championships. Congratulations to everyone involved in these achievements.
England will be hosting the 2024 GENSB junior international tug of war 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.