Chopping spree at Echo Arena timber show

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Timbersports World Championships 2018 athletes on stage at the Echo Arena. Pic © Annie Williams JMU Journalism

The atmosphere was literally buzzing as some of the planet’s most proficient wood choppers arrived at Liverpool’s Echo Arena this weekend.

Friday’s opening of the Timbersports World Championships 2018 event saw Team GB competing against 20 other nations in a series of exciting woodchopping challenges.

The extreme sport involves musclebound athletes chopping and sawing wood against a clock, using razor-sharp axes and saws in six disciplines.

The hosts were knocked out of the team championships by Australia, after finishing 21 seconds behind them in the quarter-final stages, with a time of 1:18 seconds.

In a surprising turn, Team USA secured the opening place in the world championship final when they knocked out last year’s winners and hot favourites, team New Zealand.

YouTube: Annie Williams

But it was team Australia taking home the trophy and setting a new world record in the team event, with an impressive official time of 45.10 seconds – a full second faster than the existing landmark, also held by the Aussies.

Team Australia member, Glenn Gillam, told JMU Journalism: “England’s got a Big Ben, Australia’s got a big bite, and I’ve got a big axe.”

Team GB take on France during the knockout stages of the Timbersports World Championships 2018. Pic © Annie Williams JMU Journalism

Saturday’s individual event saw Laurence O’Toole of Team Australia battle his way to the individual 2018 STIHL Timbersports world title, giving the Chopperoos a double success.

Mr O’Toole told JMU Journalism: “It was pretty tough work out there for me today, but to come home with the win is great. A special thanks to my family, my buddies who travelled over to watch and my team back in Australia who have supported me all the way.”

Team GB were represented by four-time British champion, Elgan Pugh, who was hoping to build on the ninth place finish he achieved in 2017.

With a fervent home crowd behind him, he opened his account with a personal best in the Underhand Chop and followed that up with another in the Standing Block Chop.

Whilst it wasn’t quite enough to see him into the next round, he can be proud of having posted quicker times in his head-to-heads against the top European of the night, Martin Komarek of the Czech Republic, and the nine-time World Champion, New Zealand’s Jason Wynyard.

About Annie Williams, JMU Journalism