This is the first time the international body hosts the tournament in Cape Town.
The Kimberley Toutrek club is hoping to make a series of huge steps backward next week when they test themselves for the first time against international opposition in the Tug of war World Championships set to take place in Camps Bay, Cape Town from September 19-22.
Kimberley Toutrek club chairman and coach Anton Groenewald (pictured) said the club has been invited to participate in the championships by the international controlling association – the Tug of war International Federation (TWIF). This is the first time the international body hosts the tournament in Cape Town.
Four members of the Kimberley club will form the core of what is essentially a Griqualand West Invitational side, while one other member from Postmasburg will be boosting the ranks, along with three other members from Cape Town to make up their eight-man team.
According to Groenewald, this selection was necessary because the side needs “guys who are properly conditioned and can help us make the required weight”.
The coach explained that the team must meet the minimum 560kg weight requirement for their competing category. Therefore the average weight of a team member is around 70kg.
Speaking to the DFA yesterday Groenewald joking quipped: “We will be going backwards to win”. This was in reference to the sport itself where eight competitors on either side of a long rope, with an eight metre gap between teams, attempts to pull their rivals four metres over a chalk line while going backwards.
“Interestingly this is the only land-based sports where you are required to move backwards in order to win,” said Groenewald, “the other one is a water-based sport, rowing.”
The local team has been putting in the hours at training at Adamantia High School’s facilities in preparation for taking part in the international competition, and have been exerting themselves for two solid hours almost every afternoon.
Groenewald said that by yesterday 18 international teams had already registered to take part in the championship and the number was likely to rise. The eight-member Invitational side will line-up against these teams in the traditional Griqualand West colours of striped turquoise and white.
The championship will, on the first two days, see several open events being staged for all age groups and genders on a round-robin basis, with the competition proper officially scheduled to happen on the third day of the championships.
In parting, Groenewald said that the sport of tug of war was experiencing a revival of sorts lately and the his team were doing their bit to further help popularise it.
“The Sol Plaatje municipality as well as the local SAPS already have teams involved in the sport,” he said.