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Leicester Student Selected for World Tug of War Championships

A Leicester nursing student has been selected to represent the UK in the Tug of War World Championships this summer.

Keira Gilchrist, will travel to Sursee, Switzerland this August to take part in the competition alongside her team.

This will follow a series of national competitions, run by the English Tug of War Association.

Leicester Time: Leicester Student Selected for World Tug of War Championships
Picture: Keira Gilchrist

“I’m really excited about taking part in both the nationals and the world championships,” said the 18-year-old, who studies at De Montfort University.

“It’s my first year of serious competition in the sport and I’m looking forward to travelling to the British and Irish legs of the contest, before going on to the world final.” 

Keira, who lives in Melton Mowbray, weighs in at just 58 kilograms. She is a member of a team of 13 women training for world championship status through the Tug of War International Federation (TWIF). 

“All the members of the team are regularly weighed to make sure that all of us are a stipulated weight to keep the balance on the rope for the full team,” she explained.

“The TWIF organises world championships for nation teams biannually, for both indoor and outdoor contests and a similar competition for club teams. To do this sport, you need to keep very fit and at present I’m training 24/7 to keep my weight down to a set weight to compete. 

“I pull in the second position from the front, which means I have to get down low to add pressure to the rope and keep it in control, while staying on the sides of my feet keeping the pressure of my body weight off the ground with my leg strength.” 

Leicester Time: Leicester Student Selected for World Tug of War Championships

Despite having to be on a constant diet and suffering from blisters and callouses on her hands from gripping the rope during the demanding sport, Keira is hooked on the pastime. 

“I love it,” she enthused. “I train three times a week, doing a range of exercises to build up my strength. You have to be really committed to succeed.”

Keira also spends weekends competing around the country, joining in local competitions- where her team has so far won several cups.

“Friends have said to me that they can’t believe I take part in tug of war sports as I am quite small,” Keira added. “But I’ve built up my strength doing weight-lifting and grip training – which involves gripping a rod like a broom handle to build up my hand grip.”