2008 sees the Tug of War Association celebrating its 50th anniversary. Over the past 50 years the Association has seen much change, as well as notable achievements by many of its national and international teams, the most recent success coming at the 2007 European Championships, hosted by the Tug of War Association in Minehead, Somerset. England came away from those European Championships with 2 gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze medal in different weight classes.
As part of their 50th anniversary celebrations, the Tug of War Association will be holding an international invitation competition at Sandhurst, Berkshire on Sunday 1st June, where there will be weight classes for both mens teams and ladies teams.
“This is a very special year for the Tug of War Association”. Commented spokesman Alan Knott. “To have been in existence as an organisation for 50 years is a great achievement, although we are relatively young compared to other established sporting organisations”.
“The Tug of War Sport used to be organised by the Amateur Athletic Association in the early 1900’s, but it was not until 1958 when The Tug of War Association was formed to organise the sport independently”.
“The English Tug of War Association were the pioneers of modern international tug of war, and along with Sweden, reintroduced international tug of war from 1960 with the Foundation of the Tug of War International Federation. The first international event took place in 1964 in Malmo, Sweden at the Baltic Games, and the first European Championships took place in 1965 at Crystal Palace, London, with England winning the first gold medal, represented by Bosley Wood Treatment from Cheshire. Since then tug of war has grown steadily in popularity around the world, and European and World Championships are organised bi-annually”.
The sport was formerly a part of the Olympic programme until 1920, but was phased out along with other sports, such as Cricket and Rugby to reduce the number of competitors at the Olympics at that time. Great Britain are still the reigning Olympic champions at tug of war from those games in 1920.
“We hope some day that tug of war will once again be part of the Olympic programme. It is a true team sport and the ethics or determination, hard work, sportsmanship, and friendship are unrivalled in any other sport”
This special event is being hosted by Sandhurst Tug of War Club. In the past ten years, Sandhurst has been one of the most successful Clubs in the World, winning three World Championships, two European Championships and over 20 UK and National titles. As well developing and training World-class athletes, Sandhurst also provides competitive and friendly Tug of War at all levels.