Combine a star-studded field with a picturesque setting and you have a new high water mark for the Highland Games in Belgium, where Ken Lowther won the 2010 International Highland Games Federation (IHGF) World Pro Masters Championships this past weekend.
Ken Lowther, front and center, took top honors at the 2010 International Highland Games Federation (IHGF) World Pro Masters Championships this past weekend. IronMind® | Photo courtesy of Marco van der Kelen.
2010 IHGF World Pro Masters Championships
by Francis Brebner
The IHGF World Pro Masters Championships was a huge success and a big attraction as the crowds flocked to Ooidonk Castle in Belgium. In the opening ceremonies the Flemish Caledonian Pipe Band and Drums Clan Mackenzie played, followed by the official opening by the Count of Ooidonk. Also there in attendance to greet the championship lineup of athletes was the Lord High Constable of Scotland.
The group of international pro masters included Petur Gudmundsson (Iceland), Wout Zijlstra (Netherlands), Alistair Gunn (Scotland), Stephen Aitken (Scotland), Ken Lowther (USA), Andreas Deuschle (Germany), Hans-Dieter Dorow (Germany), Uli Mueller (Germany), Anthony Lordi (Switzerland), Gene Flynn (USA), and Dirk Bishop (Canada). The pro masters proved tireless in their performances, giving their all with competitive spirit in each event and thrilling the crowd over the entire weekend.
Several TV stations were on hand filming the championships and capturing the masters’ world hammer record that was broken by Scotland’s Aitken.
The first event with the 22-lb. Braemar stone was a very hard-fought battle between USA’s Lowther and Germany’s Deuschle, with Lowther snatching the event with a put of 41’ 6”; in second place was Deuschle with 41’ 1” and in third place at 38’ 9” was Iceland’s Gudmundsson.
The second event, the 28-lb. weight for distance, was won by Aitken with a superb throw of 79’ 1”; in second place was Lowther with 71’ 9” and in third, Gudmundsson at 71’ 6”.
The 22-lb. hammer proved to be another victory for Aitken as he stormed the win with a fantastic throw of 109’ 1”. Lowther followed in second place with 105’ 1”, and Scotland’s Gunn took third at 98’ 4”.
In the 16-lb. open stone, it was a very tight field indeed, with Gudmundsson claiming the win with a distance of 51’ 7” and Lowther taking second with 50’ 3”. In third was Dorow at a distance of 49’ 9”.
The caber event, with a caber 19’ long and 145 lb., ended in a tie between Flynn and Lowther, who each secured 12:00 tosses; in third place was Zijlstra with a toss of 11:55.
The 42-lb. weight for distance was a close event between the top three athletes, with Flynn holding on to the win with a distance of 49’ 7” and Gudmundsson in a close second place with 49’ 5”. Aitken landed in third spot with 49’ 5”.
The 16-lb. hammer was one of the highlights of the championships, with Aitken obliterating Gunn’s master record of 134’ 11” with a new world record distance of 136’ 3”. Gunn came in second at 123’ 9”, and Bishop took third at 113’ 2”.
The final event with the 42-lb. weight over the bar was won by Flynn at a height of 19’. Lowther and Aitken tied for second place at 18’.
In the challenge caber, which was 17’ 1” long and 160-lb., Flynn won with a toss of 9:50, the only athlete to turn the mighty stick. Aitken and Dorow tied with 70 degree attempts.
Overall placings and points:
We extend a great big thank you to the main organisers Sabien Desmet and Tommy de Bruyn, who put a lot of hard work into this year’s event, making it the best ever traditional Games to date in Belgium.
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