I just returned this weekend from Callander's 25th Anniversary where I was MC and host for the weekend. It was a world class weekend!
The World Highlander Federation (WHF) held its Women's World Championships at the 25th anniversary of Callander Highland Games over the weekend. The two days were played out to an impressive crowd of 15,000 fans and excited tourists. The other major title on the line was the WHF 's Women's World Caber Tossing Championships. The line up was fiercely packed with young Europeans looking to try and beat the current World Champion Andriane Blewitt from Ohio. Adriane came into the contest as a overwhelming favorite having been so dominant on the women's scene recently. The event also ran alongside the men's Championships which included such highlander stars as Sebastian Wenta, Gregor Edmunds and Lucasz Wenta, with an appearance on the Sunday from Mike Pockoski.
In the women's Adriane certainly didn't disappoint, Over the two days she won six of the eight events. The two she lost she still found second place. The two events that didn't go the American's way were: the 14 pound weight for distance which was won by Great Britain Discus thrower Shaunagh Brown of London and in the 28lbs weight for height she was bettered by the impressive figure of Nina Geria of Ukraine. The 20 year old, Ukraine's Strongest Woman, cut a very impressive figure at around 1.88m and 110kg. Nina managed 16 feet 6 inches in her first highland games Weight for Height contest. She also did one of the most entertaining pieces of Highland Games Showmanship i have seen in my 35 years of going around the Games. We invited out the 'local heroes' to lift up a 110kg atlas stone onto a whisky barrel. Brave man after local hardman made a good attempt but none could budge it. In the end the whiskey on offer appeared safe. That was until Nina strode over and asked if she could have a go. The crowd roared with delight; she didn't just put it on once - but for reps!! A few local tough guys walked away with rather red faces.
In the caber - on the Saturday it was a draw between the young Ukrainian and the American. They were the only two to make a good toss. On the Sunday, during the World Caber Tossing Championships, judged by none other than Scottish Highland Games legend Grant Anderson, again it was just Nina and Adriane that managed the feat. This time with a caber almost 16 foot long. It came down to a perfect 12 o clock toss from the American to just better the Ukranian upstart by a mere 1 minute on Mr Anderson's impeccable judgement.
In the men's, it was a great weekend for the veteran Sebastian Wenta of Poland. He won fairly comfortably after injuries to top throwers Gregor Edmunds and Dominic Zielinski. The whole affair was overseen by Dr Douglas Edmunds who deserves more than a pat on the back for creating the Games and seeing through a quarter of a century.
The final scores for the top four women ran like this:
The final scores for the top four men ran like this:
nb, M Pockoski won the second day on points (but missed the Saturday)