Praise and Grumble
Tug of War
by Sophie Calvert
Tug of War isn’t just an event at your local village fete. In Staffordshire it’s a fiercely competitive sport which is probably why the European Champions, Norton, are from the county.
Tug of War is essentially a simple sport. Two teams of 8 men or women pull at either end of a rope to drag their opponents over a centre line.
It is synonymous with village fetes and carnivals but now it’s being taken a lot more seriously with the European Championships due to be held in England in 2011.
One of England’s best chances of a gold medal in those games will be a team from Norton in Staffordshire, after they won the 600 kg weight title in 2009.
It’s no small achievement for a team that first set themselves up at Norton Cricket Club in 1986. Since then, they have grown into one of the UK’s premier Tug of War clubs winning many National and European championships.
The 2009 European Championships were held in Assen, in the Netherlands. The Norton team had to make their own way there with little sponsorship and no funding.
So with cheap flights with no luggage and one of the team driving all the kit over they made their way to the competition.
The Norton team were representing England and won all of their qualifying rounds to face the Republic of Ireland in the semi-final. After winning the pull against them they made it to the final against Switzerland, a team that had matched them pull for pull in the competition.
Against the Swiss it came down to not just brute strength, but also gritted-teeth determination and whoever wanted it most - The lads from Norton proved that was them to win the title.
After a successful outdoor season Norton will be hoping to recreate their summer form to win gold at World Indoor Tug of War Championships in Italy in 2010. It’s then just 12 months before the European Championships come to England.
Fitness and Hard Work
The Norton team train most days of the week, either working with ropes and the rig at Longsdon, or doing circuit training, weights and cross country running to build up strength and stamina.
The schedule was devised by fitness trainer Ian Daniels who believes the team is a now a match for any of the top teams in the world. He says the club is always on the lookout for new members.
“We have all levels of people that come to our club, but a good basis is obviously a ground fitness. So it’s good to get a basic fitness under your belt before you come to the club, and then leave it in our hands to help you (get into the sport).”
If you want to get involved click the link below for more information on Norton Tug of War club.
last updated: 16/11/2009 at 10:02