Records Fall at the New Hampshire Highland Games

It was a tremendous weekend at the New Hampshire Highland Games, where Mike Pockoski won the IHGF World Hammer Championships, world team championships and masters records were broken, USA 1 won the team title, and Sean Betz wonthe 2010 IHGF World Highland Games Super Series.


2010 New Hampshire Highland Games
by Francis Brebner
Records tumbled, with four World Team Championships records broken and two world records broken in the Masters' division at the New Hampshire Highland Games, host of this year’s 2010 IHGF World Team Championships and World Hammer Championships and also the final of the IHGF World Super Series.  A large crowd of spectators from all over the U.S. came to be part of these premier Games, enjoying the many festivities and attractions and to witness firsthand the world’s best heavy athletes prove their mettle over the three days of competition.
The heavy events got underway with the IHGF World Hammer Championships on Friday evening with the 22-lb. hammer.  USA’s Mike Pockoski won with a magnificent throw of 118’ 5”, which established a new championships record, smashing the old one held by Canada’s Lyle Barron of 112’ 5-3/4”.  In second place was Scotland’s Craig Sinclair, who also furthered Lyle Barron’s record with a throw of 113’ 5”; in third place was Canada’s Matt Docherty with 109’ 10”.
In the 16-lb.hammer, Pockoski stormed the win with another splendid performance, again establishing a new world championships record, 140’ 1”, besting the distance previously held by Barron of 132’ 10”.  USA’s Sean Betz took second place, joining Pockoski with a record-breaking distance of 136’ 9”.  Sinclair took third with 130’ 4”.
After the total distances of the 16-lb. and 22-lb. hammers were combined, Pockoski was crowned the worthy winner of the 2010 IHGF World Hammer Championships, with Sinclair coming in second and Betz third.
Saturday’s events began with the 22-lb. Braemar stone, in which we witnessed three athletes exceeding the World Team Championships record of 41’ 7-1/2” held by Docherty.   Mike Zolkiewicz, USA, won the event with an awesome put of 43’ 5”.  In a very close second place was Betz with 43’ 5” and in third, Docherty at 43’.
The 56-lb. weight for distance was won by USA’s Harrison Bailey III with a distance of 43’1-1/2”, leaving second place to Pockoski at a distance of 42’ 1” and third place to Larry Brock, USA, at 41’ 4”.
The caber, which was 18’ 6” long and 135 lb., proved stubborn and only three athletes could turn this mighty beast, with Pockoski nailing the win with a toss of 11:30.  In second place was teammate Bailey with a toss of 2:30, and in third place Brock with 9:15.
The final event of the day was the 56-lb. weight over the bar, one of the most riveting competitions I have witnessed.  It was at the level of the 2010 IHGF World Weight Over Bar Championships held two weeks ago at Pleasanton, California, which gives you a good indication of the continuing standard that is on the rise.

Zolkiewicz, the current IHGF World Weight Over Bar champion, tussled mightily with Betz and came out on top with a winning height of 17’ 6”.  Betz took second place with 17’ and Australia’s Aaron Neighbour took third with 16’ 6”.
Team points after day one:

1. USA 1: Harrison Bailey, Mike Pockoski 111.5
2. USA 2: Larry Brock, Mike Zolkiewicz 78.0
3. USA 3: Sean Betz, Will Barron 76.0
4. Canada: Greg Hadley, Matt Docherty 68.5
5. Europe: Craig Sinclair, Hans Lolkema 62.0
6. Southern Hemisphere: Pat Hellier, Aaron Neighbour 50.0

In the Masters' division, two new world records were set:  Gerard Benderoth in the weight over bar with a colossal height of 21’ and Gene Flynn in the 16-lb. sheaf toss with 37’ 6”.
The final placings for the Masters:
1.  Petur Gudmunsson – Iceland
2.  Gene Flynn – USA
3.  Dirk Bishop – Canada
4.  Gerard Benderoth – USA
5.  Mike Baab – USA
6.  Alistair Gunn – Scotland
The final day of the World Team Championships got of to a great start with the 16-lb. open stone, as the World Team Championship record held by Canadian Matt Docherty of 52' 7" was increased by himself with a colossal winning distance of 56' 5-1/4”.   In second place was Australia's Aaron Neighbour with a putt of 53' and Sean Betz with a very close third place with 52' 9".

The last event, the 28-lb. weight for distance was a ding-dong battle with Betz coming out on top with the winning distance of 82' 6".  In second place was Brock with 80' 1-1/2” and in third place was Bailey with 79' 8-1/2”.
Overall placing in the IHGF Team Championships:

1.  USA Team 1: Harrison Bailey /Mike Pockoski
2.  USA Team 3: Sean Betz/Will Barron
3.  USA Team 2: Larry Brock/Mike Zolkiewicz
4.  Canada: Greg Hadley/ Matt Docharty
5.  Europe: Criag Sinclair/ Hans Lolkema
6.  Southern Hemisphere: Pat Hellier/ Aaron Neighbour 
Overall Placing in the 2010 IHGF World Highland Games Super Series
1.  Sean Betz
2.  Mike Pockoski
3.  Larry Brock
4.  Harrison Bailey
5.  Craig Sinclair
6.  Aaron Neighbour
7.  Hans Lolkema
8.  Mike Zolkiewicz
9.  Greg Hadley
Bill Crawford and the Games Committee of the New Hampshire certainly know how to put together a first class event which made a very big impression on all the IHGF officials and its athletes.
Reflecting on the World Team Championships and the whole of the World Series for 2010 I can honestly say that the competition between the athletes and all the locations involved in the Super Series are amongst  the best I have personally experienced in my twenty eight years of being involved in the sport.
Stay tuned for next years IHGF World venues planned for 2011 which will be released soon.


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