Eidsvold axeman a chip off the old block
IT'S one of the oldest extreme sports and this year it's international competition is taking on a new format.
For the first time in history, the Stihl Timbersports Australian Championships will be held virtually.
Australia's top athletes will fight tooth-and-nail with razor-sharp axes and high-powered chainsaws in a state-by-state battle.
Eidsvold local Brodie Dingle will wield the axe alongside team mates Mitch Argent and Jamie Head.
Chopping since he was a 5-year-old, Mr Dingle is a third generation woodchopper following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.
"It was a pretty cool feeling as a young fella sitting on an axe box watching Dad compete and he was quite successful nationally and internationally," he said.
"Any chance you had to see him compete was pretty special and there was a brief period where I could compete with my grandad too … there's not a lot of sports out there that allow that to happen.
"It's quite unique and I really enjoy that and the travel and camaraderie aspects of it all and the Stihl Timbersports amplifies all that."
Mr Dingle said because of Covid restrictions a lot of the southern state competitors, who are usually well into their chopping season, would be relying on their at home training going into the competition.
"Those guy would have had a fair bit of competition under them by now and would have been match fit," he said.
"However this year is going to be different they'll have to rely on their at home training … it'll be interesting to see how it evolves."
He said while he's had more time to focus on his practice, he will miss the crowds that would usually draw to an event.
"Historically I've worked in the resources industry and worked away quite a lot so it was hard to do some sport specific training," he said.
"Since August I've come back to work in the rural sector more and involved in the timber industry a lot more, so generally my work has been more hands on and sport specific."
Stihl Timbersports event director Lee Gooch said despite the challenges thrown at the sport both internationally and locally due to Covid-19, they were thrilled to be able to bring the event to life in a virtual format that's safe for athletes, officials and fans.
"Holding the competition virtually will allow us to continue the great momentum we've achieved with the series in Australia of late, and ensure our growing fan base get to witness the incredible precision, power, speed and sportsmanship of these athletes in what is guaranteed to be a high-energy, high-excitement event," he said.
"With the athletes not knowing the times from other states it adds a whole new dimension to the competition. Athletes will need to give 100 per cent in every discipline as there will be no way of knowing how the points are unfolding and where they are sitting on the leaderboard."
The Stihl Timbersports Virtual Australian Championships live stream will air worldwide on the Stihl Timbersports Facebook and YouTube channels at 8pm AEDT (7pm Queensland time) on Sunday November 15.
Highlights of the championships will air on 7Mate in early 2021.