A DISABLED woman and her collie made dog show history by becoming the first from the UK to be placed in an Para-agility competition for disabled handlers.
Angela Lucas, a dog instructor from Eastbourne, was part of a team representing Britain at the International Mixed Breed Championships/Para Agility World Championships (IMCA/PAWC), held this year at Ocktoberhallen, Weize in Belgium.
The competition took place over four days and was a real achievement for Angela, who has suffered from severe asthma all her life..
Angela said, “This was my very first time abroad, let alone competing at IMCA/PAWC. It was a personal ambition come true, but it ended up better than that because my five-year-old working sheepdog Bizzy came third in her class and second in the agility class.”
Angela was delighted to be part of the event because the competition brings together some of the best agility handlers as well as disabled agility handlers from countries across the world. Competitors travelled from as far away as Japan and Russia to enter and represent their country in team and individual rounds.
Angela said, “I shall never forget the atmosphere of the event. There was complete support and respect for each other. Everyone cheered and showed their appreciation for individual talents. A passion for agility united us all.”
Angela has been involved in competing and instructing in agility for more than 20 years, and also works as a part-time cleaner.
“Bizzy competes in Kennel Club agility at Grade Four. I would never have been able to afford to have paid for my place if it wasn’t for the funds raised. I have been helping to put money in the kitty for the last five years by organising shows.
“I count myself very lucky to have gone to Belgium. I would love the team to be able to build on its success this year and go back to Hungary, proving we have great agility handlers.”
Angela said she saw inspiring rounds by disabled handlers and added, “Disability need not stop you.
“You just have to accept sometimes you may never beat your able bodied opponents but at PAWC you compete against your peers.
“In the UK this competition is not widely known amongst the agility society.
“In this Olympic year it would be so appropriate to highlight having a disability need not be a barrier to having fun and competing with your dog.”