IFCW rep. on official visit to discuss forthcoming Championships in E. Kilbride

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This week-end, Jean- François Hubert, a senior official of the International Federation of Celtic Wrestling will be in Glasgow to discuss details of the 15th European Championships which are scheduled for the 24th to 25th April, 2009 in East Kilbride. Separate female championships will also be held at the same time and place.

Two years ago in a mountain village near the Spanish city of Leon, the English team was Andrew Carlile, instead of seven wrestlers ranging from 9 ½ st to 15 ½ st plus an Open Weight. Carlile won the backhold title and did well in the Gouren style, but surely we can do better in Scotland next April. The Carlisle coach, Alan Jones, reckons that we could win the title, but that depends on a rigorous training regime in the coming months and the individual determination of each wrestler to fulfil potential.

Our present crop of champions is notable for its youth and technical ability in the Back-hold style. Many of them have had experience of International competition in the European Espoirs Championships for youths 16 to 20 years of age. Andrew Carlile and David Atkinson are both gifted coaches and practitioners in both the international styles and no-one is better at strategy and motivation than Alan Jones.

In addition, the Bretons are organising a training week from the 15 to 20 th February at Ti ar Gouren, the House of Wrestling, at Berrien in the dead centre of the Brittany Peninsula. Such an intensive training session could lift the standard of the team radically. Four wrestlers from this area are invited to take part as well as a travelling official. On the 21st, the Breton Backhold Championships will be held to round off the week.

What about the state of the pound? Luckily, the Bretons are past masters at finding European money, and if we have a full group over 850 Euros would be available to subsidise the travelling expenses. In addition all accommodation expenses would be free.

The cost of the European Championships will also be minimal, as East Kilbride is only two hours away by car.

Training is always problematical because of the geography of the area. Basic training may well have to be in each wrestler's local academy with the occasional plenary session on a Sunday.

Any wrestler, male or female, and over 16 years of age, keen to take part in this prestigious event and to represent the region against the best traditional wrestlers in Europe should contact me, Roger Robson. (tel: 016974 73559) as soon as possible.

One wrestler will have a particular problem with distance from the training sessions. Richard Fox is at present in the South Island of New Zealand clipping sheep. Over 15,000 sheep were presented for shearing at one venue, and he got so hot he turned the shears on himself for the haircut of a lifetime. We know that he will be back before the championships, because his dad needs him for the lambing in March.

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (February 10th 2011)

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