On 24th-25th March, agility handler Anthony Clarke will be continuing his OJAC (Open Junior Agility Championships), where children along with their dogs can enter to compete in an agility competition. So, what do you need to know about OJAC? We asked Anthony some of the need to know questions…
Why did you start OJAC?
Having enjoyed a successful career during my youth I felt more was needed to support the growing talent of junior Agility handlers entering the sport. Now in its 6th year, I created OJAC (the Open Junior Agility Championships) with the vision that it would be a platform to encourage and coach young handlers enabling them to go on to compete at a top level from an early age just as I did. Run in association with the Governing Body for Agility for Juniors, it has grown from strength to strength
Who can enter?
OJAC has 3 different age categories for the children to enter with dogs of all shapes and sizes accepted providing they are level 1
- Under – Ages 5-11 years old
- Overs – Ages 12-18 years old
- Seniors – Ages 19-20 years old
Is this only open to UK junior agility handlers?
Definitely not! OJAC is a highly anticipated event both at home and internationally. We have entries coming from England , Ireland , Scotland , Wales, Canada , Holland , Belgium and Germany all battling it out to be crowned overall winner for their age group
What format does the competition follow?
There are 28 heat winners, 9 overall winners and 4 team winners. This offers the ability to recognise lots of talent with our junior agility handlers and promote further development of their dog handling skills and experience of competing at a professional event
Any changes to 2018?
Yes! We continually look to improve the experience for both the handler and dog. This year we are adding additional prizes to encourage sportsmanship and dog handling recognising effort and performance above and beyond a clear run
This year you have joined forces with Autarky Complete Dog food, how important is this partnership for OJAC?
I am delighted to have Autarky on board. Nutrition plays a key role in the performance of any dog and especially those that are active and compete in agility. Having fed Autarky to my dogs, I have noticed their stamina and condition improve which helps their overall performance so it was an obvious fit to have them on board offering additional support to the juniors at OJAC
Why should a junior handler enter OJAC?
OJAC showcases the future talent of the sport. As a junior only event, you will get to meet likeminded people building friendships that last beyond your agility career.
Juniors benefit from an experience that has seen past participants go on to compete for their country, at the Agility for Juniors European Cup – Junior Europeans and World Agility Open events. OJAC forms an important part of their preparation for moving in to higher level competitions and in to adult competitions.
What advice would you give to any juniors entering OJAC to make sure they get the best out of the experience?
Embrace the experience! You will meet new people from around the world and all of you are in the same boat at the event. It’s a great opportunity to learn but most of all, enjoy it and have fun
Entries are open now!
OJAC is held at Moulton College in Northamptonshire on 24th and 25th March 2018. For more information and to enter visit: http://bit.ly/OJAC2018