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Tug-of-war squad pull out all the stops for World Games

By Mark Etheridge
in Cali

The women’s tug-of-war team have all but wrapped up their training preparations ahead of their competition at the World Games here on Sunday.

The opening ceremony was scheduled for Thursday, 25 July and four years of preparation for this team will come to an end in roughly two hours of blood, sweat and hopefully tears of joy on Sunday.

It was an impressive session at the indoor hall at the local university on Wednesday, which saw them taking on a men’s team as well as a group of up and coming Colombian women.

“The girls all went to gym this morning and they’ll have done about 20-30 pulls when we’re through today,” said conditioning and mental skills coach John McGrath, who celebrated his 46th birthday on Thursday.

The squad of nine girls is a completely different outfit to that of Taiwan for the last Games in 2009.

“Last time, you must remember that we only had about two months of training,” said captain Kobie Phillips. “Now you can see the strides we’ve made.”

And big strides they are. The team now looks like a well-oiled steam locomotive shunting along in perfect unison.

A confident, well-honed crew, they took on, and beat a nine-man men’s team, the heaviest of which weighed in at an impressive 100kg.

At one stage, so confident were they, that they took on a combined opposition of 14 pullers, including one man!
Friday was official weigh-in day and the good news is that for some members of the team, the stress of wearing bulky rainsuits in the days leading up to weigh-in, it proved worthwhile.

The team weighed in at just 400 grams inside the 540kg weight limit.

South African will be hoping that they’ll be worth their weight in gold come Sunday and can build on their bronze medal that they won in the World Championships in Scotland last year.


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