WAO Team England 2019 – An Introduction – Part 1

In May 2019, 17 handlers, 22 dogs, 2 Team Managers and their supporters, will travel out to Ermelo in The Netherlands to compete at the World Agility Open Championships.  The Team are very proudly sponsored for the second year by Nutriment Raw, who provide an optimum raw dog food diet to support the canine athlete. Without this support, the team who work hard all year to be at the very top of their sport, would not be able to compete at such a prestigious international event.  We are all incredibly grateful to Nutriment for continuing to support us this year.

Held for the first time in 2011, the WAO is an annual, international event designed to provide the ultimate in dog agility competition, where speed, efficiency and consistency are all necessary for success.  It showcases the highest level of agility training, human/canine partnerships and athleticism.  In 2019, Team England will be one of 40 countries competing over 3 days for the chance to win one of 39 medals.  Teams come from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, and South America.  The only inhabited continent not currently represented is Africa.

In 2018, Team England won 2 Gold medals, 3 Silver medals and 1 Bronze medal.  Team England also head the cumulative medal table from 2011-2018, with a total of 50 medals, closely followed by the United States with 48 and then Canada with 32.

Handlers are selected for the Team by their results in key agility competitions throughout the year.  In addition, the medal winners from the previous year, are automatically invited back to the event as are handlers and dogs who have won Gold medals at other specified international agility championships in the previous year.

There are 4 heights categories for the dogs, which enables them to compete against those of a similar height.  The height indicates the height of the hurdles that the dog will jump and they are 600mm, 500mm, 400mm, and 300mm.   This year the successful partnerships invited to join the team are as follows:

600 height:

  • Anthony Clarke and Ava
  • Anthony Clarke and Protest
  • Marita Davies and Duka
  • Ollie Tatton and Thea
  • Vanessa Mortarino-Lloyd and Taboo
  • Reserve: Gemma Haycock and Jukebox

500 height:

  • Amy Bennett and Air
  • Ashleigh Butler and Eliza
  • Jenny Kimber and Guv’nor
  • Steve Seale and Flec
  • Steven Richardson and Digit
  • Reserve: Sarah Millwood and Phaze

400 height:

  • Ashleigh Butler and Sullivan
  • Gemma Haycock and Ruby
  • Marita Davies and Harvey
  • Nicola Garrett and Z
  • Steven Richardson and Libby
  • Tanya Cooper and Taxi

300 height:

  • Hayley Tindall and Fifi
  • Lucy Norton and Fling
  • Martin Watts and Pippa
  • Sarah McLean and Milo
  • Stacey Irwin-Burns and Sam
  • Reserve: Tracy Ryan and Jet

Congratulations to them all!

In the next post I will explain about the different class types at WAO.  In later posts you will hear from the Team Coaches, David Wright and Molly Phillips, and from some of the handlers themselves.


Written by Becky Dixon, WAO Team England Logistics Manager