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Qualifying for the Kennel Club’s Agility Team to represent the UK
at the FCI World Championships in Norway 2007

For a number of years the Kennel Club has sponsored a team of dogs and handlers at the FCI World Agility Championships and several competitors have proved successful at the event. During this time the team selection has been held at a specially organised qualifying day. The selection of the team is not just a matter of choosing the ‘on form dogs and handlers’ but also to select handlers who can cope well with the pressurised atmosphere of competing at the World Championships.

Since the competition last year, a thorough review of the team selection has been undertaken and changes have been made. This year the team selection event will be run over two days at a new venue in Rugby, Warwickshire on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th July 2007. The Qualifying Trials will consist of a mix of:

Assessments to test the handler & dog’s performance against a set of pre-defined benchmarks.

Competition runs to test:

- the handler’s and the dog’s capabilities over the style of courses likely to be set at international events and;
- the partnerships’ ability to perform under pressure.

Also, in order to provide recognition for performance in Kennel Club licensed events and ‘major’ competitions prior to the event, handlers & dogs will be eligible to score ‘Pre-Qualifying Points’ during the 12 months leading up to the Qualifying Trials. Points will be awarded based on pre-qualifying performances and these will be added to each dog’s score prior to the first round of the qualifying event.

Full details of the revised rules and eligible events are included in the show schedule for the Qualifying Trials which can be obtained from Debbie Deuchar, WTOA Department, The Kennel Club, 1-5 Clarges Street, Piccadilly, London, W1J 8AB. 020 7518 1013 or debbie.deuchar@thekennelclub.org.uk

Team Manager, Steve Croxford, said; “In developing the qualifying system we have tried to take into account the feedback received from both former team members and the team’s support group of volunteers, who provide invaluable help with coaching and managing the team. The new system combines the best elements of the old system and is an evolution of what we have done in the past. The new system will be trialled for the first time this year.

“The key objective has been to ensure the continued and future success of the team. This requires us to continuously raise the quality of dogs and handlers taking part at the World Championships, or any other international event the Kennel Club decides to support.

This requires the coaching team to provide a clear set of criteria for potential entrants and team members to work towards. A set of objective criteria has now been developed so that handlers can benchmark themselves and their dogs in advance of the Qualifying Trials.

“The setting of qualifying standards for national teams is normal practice in most sports and Agility should be no exception. It is also clear that we needed to allow for some recognition of performances in major events leading up to the Qualifying Trials.”

Full details of the proposals for the Qualifying Trials, full details of the Qualifying Criteria and the rationale for the changes can be obtained by e-mail application to Steve Croxford: meistermansion@aol.com