Dromore man strikes gold at World Championships

Dromore man Mark Walker and John Shannon display their medals.
Dromore man Mark Walker and John Shannon display their medals.

Dromore man Mark Walker struck gold at the recent World Indoor Tug of War Championships in the Netherlands.

And in a double success, he and fellow Northenr Ireland man John Shannon also claimed silver at the prestigious tournament.

The World Championships brought together teams from over 20 countries across the globe.

And the two local athletes played a significant and very successful part in that event.

Mark Walker has come to prominence in recent seasons at Tug of War, and he was delighted to claim his first gold medal at the championships.

Mark was joined by John Shannon from the Glenavy area.

John is one of the most decorated Tug of War athletes in Northern Ireland and has a long history of success with the Richhill club.

Because of their prowess, both were invited to join the Mountain View team from Co.Louth to participate in the World Open Club Championships.

John assumed the important position of Number One on the rope, whilst Mark pulled in the “Engine room” of the team at Number 4.

The 560 kilo competition was first up and Mountain View swept all before them to take the gold medal.

This was not a new experience for John, but was the first world gold for young Mark. More was to follow the next day when then lifted silver medals at the 600 kilo category.

Both were delighted at this double success, but none more so than Mark’s parents who were also in attendance.

Mark’s father, Alan, was himself a world class Tug of War Athlete and is one of very few people to have been elected to the Tug of War Association Hall of Fame.

Mark commented: “The overall experience of winning a gold medal for both John shannon and I, was an overwhelming feeling and a huge honour for us.

“Walking out into the final against St Pat’s was a nerve racking, yet the most exciting feeling for us both, as we felt we were in with a good chance of winning the gold.

“When the whistle blew, we had won the Open Championship and would be recieving a world gold medal. Our hearts were overwhelmed with happiness, it made all our hard work training, traveling 400 miles a week to train and all the weight loss we put in to get to this point worthwhile.”