Last weekend we held the first selection day for juniors trying out for a place in the team going to Slovakia for the Junior European Open in July. Although the junior EOs has been going for some time, this will be the first time Team GB will be sending a team.
The selection day went well and mostly to plan. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and attitude of these young handlers and the overall standard was good too. Everyone came into the competition ring looking excited and determined. They all gave 100% effort on three challenging European style courses and really enjoyed themselves.
Approximately 40 handlers will be invited back to selection day 2 (27th February) then we will select the team. The selection days follow a similar format for the junior handlers as for the adult team. A mix of agility courses, vet and physio checks, measuring and short seminars. This will help prepare those who get selected, and for those who don’t, it’s good experience for the future.
We had juniors travel down from Scotland and up from the South West to this day held at Hinkley’s training venue. I appreciate the dedication and commitment from everyone who took part and helped to make it a special day
While the main objective is to select a strong team for this years junior EO, I’m also looking for handlers to join the adult team in the future. Judging by the high standard I watched on Saturday, I can see a future adult Team GB consisting of some juniors too.
Of course a lot goes on behind the scenes to get these selection days launched. The idea to send a team this year has been discussed for the last couple of years. Towards the end of 2015 we received confirmation of budget, support and resources from the Kennel Club and CSJ which enabled us to go ahead with our plans. I’m grateful to everyone who helped make this day happen, it was well worth the effort.