TEAMS of eight from across England will battle it out during the National Tug of War Championships taking place in Oxfordshire this weekend.

Believed to have been first practised by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, the event, which will be held in the Grove Rugby Club, is expected to draw in crowds from far and wide in the county.

Tug of war competitors from all over the country will be taking part in the event, which will see teams competing for the gold, silver and bronze medals in women's and men's weight categories.

There will also be a mixed gender weight class up for grabs, with teams consisting of four women and men each.

The winning teams from the different weight classes will go on to represent England at the Tug of War International Federation (TWIF) World Tug of War Championships, which is expected to take place in Spain in September.

TOW Association spokesman Alan Knott said: "We are very much looking forward to the national tug of war championships in Grove this year, particularly after a very difficult 18 months where we had to cancel our 2020 tug of war season.

"It is practised at a serious level by our competitors, and whilst being amateurs, a lot of training is required to be successful, and that will be evident when people come along to watch the event.

"We will have teams that have won World and European Championship medals taking part at the event, which should make for a very exciting championship.

"English teams boast a proud record at international tug of war, with England having won many gold, silver and bronze medals over the past 50 years."

Amongst the teams competing will be Norton Tug of War Club from Staffordshire who won one weight class at the 2019 National Championships, and represented Great Britain at the 2017 international event.

The championships held at Grove Recreation Ground on Saturday will start at 9.30am and will run throughout the day, with entrance to the event made free for spectators.

Stephen Dexter, member of the Grove and Wantage Extravaganza organising committee behind the event, said: "I am delighted that we have managed to secure the Tug of War championships to Grove.

"Despite all of the difficulties of the past 18 months or so, we hope the local community will come along and support this event and we look forward to a fascinating day of competition and fun."