The European Tug of War Championships kicked off at the YMCA Grounds in Belfast yesterday.
Three Northern Ireland teams where competing in the lightweight competition, the 560kg competition. Bancran from Draperstown, Kilkeel’s Derryogueand Garvagh. Bancran went into the competition as one of the favourites for gold and in their group they finished top of the group without losing an end. Derryogue finished second in their group, behind Goiherri from the Basque region of Spain. Garvagh faced the stiffest competition in the group and unfortunately missed out on a top two place to make it into the quarter finals.
In the quarter finals Derryogue where defeated by Stans Oberdorf from Switzerland. Bancran were up against another team from the Basque country, Gaztedi. After two tough, long ends they successfully made it into the semi-finals, next up was another Basque team, this time Derryogue’s group toppers Goiherri.
Bancran took the first end but in the second ran out of steam just as it seemed like it was going their way. Having put everything they had into the second end they were defeated in a final pull, just missing out on the final with Goiherri going on to be crowned world champions, defeating Stans in the final. Up next for the Bancran men will be the closed competition this Saturday. Having starved and used the sauna to lose substantial weight they will be hoping to be back to full strength and go one further.
Today (Friday) is the 640kg with Garvagh competing at a more natural weight for them. An opening ceremony takes place from 7pm featuring the Wild Geese Skydive team as well as one of Northern Ireland’s finest pipe bands. Everyone is encouraged to come along to the YMCA grounds for a great spectacle with teams from America, Canada, South Africa, Taiwan and throughout Europe.