It’s a game most people have come across at a community fun day, or during ‘it’s a knockout’, but for Éire Rowland-Evans and Beth Parsons from Gloucester, Tug of War is a serious matter.
The girls have earned the opportunity to represent England as captain and vice-captain, respectively, of the Under 18s Tug of War team, when they travel to South Africa for the sport’s World Championships.
After starting tug of war as an army cadet, Éire was selected for the first England girls’ team in 2017, where the squad came fourth, losing out on a podium spot to China.
Speaking to SoGlos 16-year-old Éire said: ‘Tug of War isn’t that common over here, but in China it’s a sport they all do at school, so the competition at last year’s European and World championships was very fierce.’
Gloucester’s Tug of War team trains in Upton St Leonards and despite having a very simple objective, the sport has a number of complicated rules. Éire explained: ‘We have to wear special metal heels on very specialised shoes, which are really expensive. It takes a lot of stamina, and there are lots of rules and regulations. There’s even weight categories to make sure the teams are completely fair.’
Despite taking part in what some would consider to be an unusual pastime, Éire says her friends are very proud of her achievements: ‘Initially they were quite shocked but as time has gone on I think they’re just really impressed. I’m quite small, so they were really surprised to learn you don’t have to be huge with big muscles to do well in tug of war.’
The team needs to raise £20,000 to go to the Under 18s Tug of War World Championships in South Africa in September 2018. To donate to the cause, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/england-tug-of-war-u18 directly.