DESPITE a few set backs due to COVID Will Bacchus, of Week St Mary, and his agility dog Rudi have once again gained a spot at the World Agility Open (WAO) championships.
As for many in far more challenging circumstances, lockdown proved to be a challenging time for Will and his agility dogs. After winning two titles at Crufts in 2020 they were looking forward to international competition after finishing first and second at trials for Team GB and being selected for Scotland to compete at the World Agility Open Championships. Not surprisingly, those competitions did not happen and with the competitive career of agility dogs being limited to a few years, such opportunities can be few and far between.
Will and his spaniel Rudi have been able to restart their competitions at the highest level in the last few months and this culminated in the pair travelling to Kinross in Scotland to once again try out for the national team to compete in the WAO Championships. The selected team consists of, at each height, a team of four senior handlers and one junior handler (under 19 years). Aged 15, Will was aiming for the junior spot.
The trial consisted of four runs with junior and senior handlers all running the same courses. Will and Rudi had one of those days where everything seemed to go right and Rudi was also looking pretty quick. After three clear rounds and a third place in his other run, Will and Rudi were the overall winners at medium height, meaning they were automatically offered a senior place in the Scotland team.
After some consideration. Will decided to take the junior spot as, realistically, he felt the pairing had a better chance at the championships competing against juniors and he is guaranteed to take part in every run at the tournament, whereas the seniors are chosen for particular runs.
So, in May 2022, Will and Rudi will take part in the WAO Championships in the Netherlands. Prior to that the pairing have Team GB try outs in February and Crufts in March to look forward to. They will be joined in the Scotland Agility Team by several top handlers and their dogs, including Euan Paterson and his dog Crazee — senior world champions at large height.
Proud father Lee added: “It is a really exciting time!”