THREE Port Elizabeth dog handlers have qualified to represent South Africa at the FCI World Agility Championships in Johannesburg in October.
Nannette Perold and Nadine Shortland from the Port Elizabeth Kennel Club in Walmer and Heather Potter from the EP Dog Jumping and Training School in Fernglen made the four-member team. Shortland unfortunately had to withdraw from the competition due to injury.
Potter will compete with her eight-year-old border collie, Khyba, in the large team and individual categories and Perold, with her toy poodle, Noodle, in the small team category.
It will be the first time in its 18-year history that the championships will be held outside of Europe. The champion handlers made it through four tough qualifying rounds to be selected for the elite team.
It is their first time representing South Africa.
“It is a wonderful opportunity and I am really excited,” Potter said.
She said it has taken eight years of commitment to get to this point.
Perold said she is excited but nervous as it is her first time competing in an international competition.
“I don’t know what to expect.
“Your time is so important because losing one second can mean losing 15 places. It’s that close.”
The championships is comprised of six events: small, medium and large dog team competitions, and small, medium and large dog individual competitions.
Each competition has one round of jumping (non-contact agility) and one round of agility (contact agility).
For the team event, each team is comprised of four dogs. Results are the combined tally of time and faults for the three best rounds. About 300 dogs from 30 countries are expected to compete.
Rory Shortland of Port Elizabeth will be one of the two hosting judges.
South Africa has been officially competing at the FCI Agility World Championships since 2000. Most notably, in 2004 and 2005 South Africa were back-to-back winners of the large dog team event. No other country has achieved this feat of winning two years in succession.