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Top tugger’s title slips through Swiss hands

The Swiss team strain against their Dutch opponents in the 640kg showdown Keystone

Switzerland's tug-of-war teams have pulled, strained and scrambled over the weekend at the European Championships in the Swiss village of Bütschwil in canton St Gallen.

Battling it out on muddy, rain-soaked soil, Switzerland’s heavyweight athletes won three gold medals and two silvers on their home turf.

They pulled off convincing wins on Saturday in the men’s 560kg event along with the women’s 520kg and the junior’s 560kg. Gold medals proved elusive in the men’s 640kg and 680kg, where they were forced to settle for silver.

Although they collected three gold medals there was bitter disappointment when the showcase 640kg battle with Holland slipped through their hands with the Swiss team being unable to match the force and strength of their Dutch rivals.

Holland walked away with four gold medals while England, thought to be a tough opponent, only managed one silver.

Last year, the Swiss teams swept the board by winning gold medals in all six of their chosen weight categories at the world championships in Britain. Although this year’s performance only brought three gold medals, the hefty Swiss sportsmen and women still have something to celebrate.

This year’s showdown in St Gallen comes exactly ten years since the European championships were last held in Switzerland. On that occasion, they were staged in Stans, where the Swiss men won gold in two of their three categories.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR