TEAMS of eight from across England battled it out during the National Tug of War Championships last weekend.

The 2021 Tug of War Association event took place at Grove Rugby Club on Saturday with teams competing from as far afield as Cumbria and Sussex.

The Grove and Wantage Extravaganza featured men’s, ladies and mixed gender classes with each team having to meet a certain weight limit.

Around 250 competitors from 20 different tug of war clubs took part while their supporters cheered them on from the sidelines.

Tug of War Association spokesman Alan Knott said: "It is practised at a serious level by our competitors, and whilst being amateurs, a lot of training is required to be successful.”

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The men’s weight categories were dominated by the Lincoln and the Oxney Vines Cross team from Sussex, with each winning three gold medals.

Lincoln won the 640kg, 720kg and catchweight divisions, and Oxney Vines Cross won the 560kg, 600kg and 680kg divisions.

The ladies competitions saw Bedford Ladies crowned national champions in all four weight classes of 500kg, 520kg, 540kg and 560kg.

The Lincoln team then went on to win their fourth gold medal of the day in the mixed weight category for the second year running after they defeated Upper Eden from Cumbria in the final.

Mr Knott said: “We had a great day. While the weather was mixed and made the conditions difficult at times, we had some great competition, and it was great to see a lot of new teams and pullers, particularly ladies teams.

“Everyone enjoyed some really tough competition which was great for all of the spectators and visitors who came along.”

The association had had a very difficult 18 months with the 2020 tug of war season cancelled.

The winning teams now go on to represent England at the World Championships which are expected to be held in Getxo in the Basque Region of Spain in September.

Mr Knott said: “We would like to take this opportunity to wish our England teams the very best of luck in their preparations for this event.

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“And we would like to thank the Grove and Wantage Extravaganza Organising Committee, Grove Rugby Club and all of their volunteers for their assistance in helping us to stage this event. They made us feel very welcome and hopefully we will be able to return again in the future.”

The sport of Tug of War is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). For further information, visit