Gary Randolph Dominates IHGF Amateur Highland Games World Championships

Gary Randolph (USA) won six of the eight events, including both hammers, to win the 2017 IHGF Amateur Highland Games World Championships in Fefor, Norway. IronMind® | ©Francis Brebner/IHGF photo Gary Randolph (USA) won six of the eight events, including both hammers, to win the 2017 IHGF Amateur Highland Games World Championships in Fefor, Norway. IronMind® | ©Francis Brebner/IHGF photo



Quick to credit his coach, five-time world champion Ryan Vierra, Gary Randolph (USA) delivered on powerful performance after another to win the 2017 IHGF Amateur Highland Games World Championships.


IHGF Amateur Highland Games World Championships: Gary Randolph Wins Six of Eight Events
by Francis Brebner
International Federation of Highland Games (IHGF)

 
High in the mountains in the magnificent setting of the Fefor Hotel in Vinstra, Norway, and Loch Fefor, 12 athletes from 11 countries competed over two days at the 2017 IHGF Amateur Highland Games World Championships. The athletes looked bigger and stronger than last year and it showed in their overall performances, with many establishing personal bests. The atmosphere was high, along with the vigor of the athletes as they warmed up.
 
In the 16-lb. hammer, Gary Randolph (USA) dominated from the first round with a hail of world-class throws all over 130’, surpassing the field record of 128’ 8”, with his best at 133’ 3/4” for the win. Jamie Gunn (Scotland) pulled out a best of 125’ 1-1/2” for second place, with Martin Schiller (Austria) in third at 121’ 4-1/2”.

In the 22-lb. Braemar stone, Randolph, who has a background in shot put and hammer and is trained by one of the world’s leading Highland Games coaches, Ryan Vierra, once again delivered a majestic series of throws all over 40’ to set a second Fefor field record of 42’ 4-1/4”, surpassing the old record of 39’ 9” set by Poland’s Rafal Kobylarz in 2016. Second place was a tight competition between Johan Longhurst (Netherlands) and Gunn, with Longhurst marginally going ahead of Gunn at 41’ 2-3/4”, leaving Gunn in third at 41’ 3/4”.

The 56-lb. weight-over-the bar was a highlight for setting personal bests. The bar started at 13’, and only three athletes cleared the bar at 15’ to move on to the height of 15’ 7” and then 16’ 4-3/4” where Longhurst, Randolph, and Glenn Nys (Belgium) gave their all, but only Longhurst cleared for the win. On countback, Nys took second place, with Randolph third.

The final event of day one was the caber toss, with a caber 18’ long and 130 lb. The title of IHGF Amateur Caber Tossing World Championships was also up for grabs. Longhurst, the defending champion, showcased extreme overall power as he slammed the caber with a best of 12:15 for the win, retaining his title. Patrick Van Antwerpen (Netherlands) took second with 12:30, followed by Gunn with a 70-degree attempt.

Under blue skies on day two, Randolph showed great form in the 22-lb. hammer, letting loose with a series of throws that exceeded the old field record of 106’ 4” and set a new field record and a personal best of 110’ 5”. Gunn, who was suffering with an abdominal strain, managed a best of 99’ 4-3/4” for second, with Schiller in third at 97’ 5-1/4”.

The 56-lb. weight for distance was all Randolph, who, brimming with confidence, did not waver in his throwing as he set a new field record of 39’ 3-1/4”, surpassing the old record of 38’. Fighting hard all the way, Gunn took second with 36’ 8”, leaving Schiller in third with 35’ 4”.
 
Randolph also took the 18-lb. open stone as the only athlete to go over 50’, crushing the old field record of 47’ 3” and setting a new one of 51’ 4”. Iceland’s Svavar Sigursteinsson was second with a throw of 47’ 4”, followed by Yrjo Hamalainen (Finland) at 46’ 5-3/4” for third.
 
In the final event, the 28-lb. weight for distance, Randolph finished in style by setting his sixth field record, this one at 78’, surpassing the old record of 77’ 9”. Second was Gunn at 74’ 3-1/2” and third, Nys at 72’ 9-1/2”.

Final placings
1. Gary Randolph (USA)        15
2. Jamie Gunn (Scotland)       24
3. Johan Longhurst (Netherlands)      34
4. Martin Schiller (Austria)     39
5. Patrick Van Antwerpen (Netherlands)       39
6. Glenn Nys (Belgium) 40
7. Andre Bonne (Germany)    53
8. Svavar Sigursteinsson (Iceland)      54
9. Tibor Kiss (Hungary)          73
10. Austin Sztajdocher (Canada)        78
11. Yrjo Hamalainen (Finland)                       80.5
12. Allan Soetens (France)      94.5
 
Newly crowned champion Randolph said of his win, “Having coach Ryan Vierra in my corner was my biggest attribute. I won six out of eight events and set six personal bests. I just could not have asked for anything more. Without Coach Vierra and his constant guidance over the last year in preparation for this World Championships, I just could not have done it alone—I owe a lot to him. To win with my family here in Fefor supporting me was uplifting and something special that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
 
The IHGF would like to thank Anne Grethe Horten of the Fefor Hotel for hosting another superb IHGF Highland Games World Championships and for all her support given to building the future of the sport and its athletes. 

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