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IT’S probably not that well known that there are a couple of world champions living in Dromore.

But for father and son duo, Alan and Mark Walker, this weekend will be the culminaton of weeks of training as they head off to the Tug-of-War World Championships.

They will form part of the Richhill squad which will travel to Perth in Scotland in an attempt to defent their title at the 560kg category.

In 2008 the club became the first from Northern Ireland to win gold at the world championships. Alan coached that side while two other local men, John Shannon from Lisburn and John Kennedy, who resides between Dromore and Hillsborough, were part of the team. They too will be part of the team off to Scotland.

Alan has given a lifetime of service to tug-of-war in this country and is one of only two people to have been elected to the tug-of-war hall of fame.

In 2010 the championships took place in Italy and against all the odds the gold medals at the same weight class were taken back to Northern Ireland, an achievement worthy of the highest recognition.

Mark was an avid observer in 2010, being too young to compete, but two years later he is in contention for a place on the squad, having trained hard and developed tremendously well over the interveining period.

At the highest level tug-of-war is a sport requiring the utmost dedication by way of training and personal lifestyle including diet, etc.

Many seasoned observers consider the committment to be on a par with that required from top international athletes in any sport.

The four locals leave with high hopes for success.