West Oxfordshire teens appear at Tug of War World Championships

02 October 2018

THREE West Oxfordshire teenagers rounded off a whirlwind summer by competing for their country at the Tug of War World Championships in South Africa.

Giorgio and Oliver Pieroni, aged 18 and 16 respectively, and 17-year-old Elenor Jennings pulled in England's junior categories at the annual tournament, held in Cape Town.

The trio are members of Witney Young Farmers Club and they were spotted while competing for the branch in May.

Fast forward four months and all three were representing England with Table Mountain as the backdrop and Giorgio admitted it was an unlikely rise.

"But you're not meant to be six foot four and built like someone out of the Avengers movie - there's a science behind it."

The brothers have lived in Charlbury since moving to England from Italy in 2014, while Elenor is from Milton under Wychwood, near Burford.

They were put forward for selection after impressing at the Oxfordshire Young Farmers County Show, with all three invited to train with the u18 squad.

Oliver said: "It's quite a big thing in young farmers, that's how most people get into it.

"It's an exciting opportunity to do something that's not necessarily well-known."

Oliver went to the European Championships in Germany in July, but Giorgio had to wait to join the set up after he was hit by appendicitis
just two weeks after being spotted.

This came during the teenager's A-Levels, but he got the grades and
has just started a degree in Agricultural food business with Spanish
at the University of Harper Adams.

The student recovered in time to fly to Cape Town, where team
England was hosted by the British Ambassador at the British Embassy on arrival.

His junior men 560kg squad finished sixth, but Giorgio refused to focus on the negatives.

He said: "It was a lovely experience - we had Table Mountain and the ocean in the background.

"We knew we weren't going to do amazingly as we train once a week and can't all train together.

Oliver, who studies agriculture at Hartpury college in Gloucestershire, almost ended with a medal, but his junior mixed 520kg team lost a pull off to Sweden and finished fourth.

Elenor had more success and came home with a bronze medal in the Junior Ladies 480kg.

The trio are now looking ahead to next year's edition in Ireland, where Giorgio will pull for the u23s.

He said: "We had a great time and got to know loads of people.

"It was amazing to meet people with that shared interest."

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