A ONCE in a lifetime sporting clash took place near Alcester as one of Britain’s top sprinting stars took on the world’s fastest pole climber.
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, fresh from winning bronze at the European Championships, went head-to-head with Shropshire’s Grant Gallier as part of the Husqvarna World Pole Climbing Championships, Association of Professional Foresters event at Ragley Hall on Saturday (September 20).
The Track versus Tree challenge saw Aikines-Aryeetey sprint 100m while Gallier climbed a 25 metre pole to determine who could travel the faster.
In the end it was a tight finish with Gallier posting a time of 9.90 seconds – not far off the 27-year-old’s world record time of 9.077 seconds – while Aryeetey finished in 10.15 seconds.
Former 400m Olympic medallist Iwan Thomas commentated on the event and even overcame his own vertigo to scale the pole in an impressive 1min 32scs.
Aryeetey said: “This is a real sport in itself. It’s so physically tiring that you just have to applaud these guys.”
Gallier, who works as a grounds keeper and has been pole climbing since 2008, added: “I was so chuffed to win and it was a great feeling to have the support of the crowd behind me.”
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey speeds towards the line. Pictures by Alex Bradbury 3914015ABR8.
Grant Gallier scales the pole during the Track vs Tree challenge. 3914015ABR10.
Grant Gallier and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey pose next to the results board. Picture by Alex Bradbury 3914015ABR13.