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Japan National Grand Prix of Dog Agility Championships

Japan competitors high on capturing all height classes in 2004 Grand Prix of Dog Agility? World Championships.

The Organization for the Promotion of Dog Education & Socialization (OPDES) held its national championships on Sunday, June 13th, at the Shiga Diamond Resort in the mountains southeast of Kyoto. The event offered two levels of agility and jumping, with the featured classes being the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of the Japan National Grand Prix of Dog Agility? Championships. Many familiar faces and some new ones took the awards podium. OPDES will sponsor the top three places in each height class. The event was judged by Hisato Tanabe of Japan and USDAA president Kenneth Tatsch.

12In the 30cm (12?) division, 12 dogs made it into the final round, with Noriko Tsuda finishing in first place with last year?s Grand Prix World Champion dog Happy Quick, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Tsuda finished the 174 yard course with zero faults in 37.29 seconds. In second was Mikie Doi and her long-haired dachshund Cosmo, with a time of 44.69 seconds. In third was Fumie Morshima and her papillon Mikann, finishing the course in 50.35 seconds.

In the 40cm (16?) division, only six made it into the final round. First place went to Yuki Shirachi and his/her Beagle Rojor, finishing in a rowdy time of 39.75 seconds as the beagle howled its way through the course. In second was Takashi Fujisaki and Pembroke Welsh Corgi Demi, who took to the 16? jumps with no problem in 40.40 seconds. In third was Mamoru Yamada and her Miniature Schnauzer Benjamin with a score of 5 faults, in 46.33 seconds.16


Familiar faces took the 52cm (22?) class with 13 competitors in the final round. Takehiro Shirai and his Border Collie Sheba once again captured a spot in the World Finals by turning in a blazing run through the 180 yard course in 32.52 seconds. In second place was last year?s 12? World Champion handler Tomoni Okuma with her Border Collie Paz, in 33.09 seconds. In third place was Hiroko Shinden and Retriever Miyu in 39.07 seconds.

In the 65cm (26?) class, 11 competitors made the final round, with first place going to Yoko Kato and her Border Collie Shuu in zero faults and 36.40 seconds. Chieko Kobayashi and her Australian Shepherd placed second with 36.85 seconds. Kobayashi has attended the event last year as a spectator and fulfilled a dream by returning as a competitor this year. In third place was Yuko Matsuoka and her Border Collie Smile, incurring 5 faults in the 33.07 second round.26

In all classes from the quarterfinal round to the finals, competitors pushed their dogs to the max for speed as they sought to achieve the first place grade to earn their way into the world finals. The quarterfinals served as a final qualifier for those who needed a qualification to participate in the Semifinals. They had previously held ten qualifying events throughout the past year, leading up to this year?s Japan National Championships.

Competitors and organizers rallied by last year?s World Championship win in the 12? class and declared that their goal is to capture four World Championships in 2004. There is no question that competition will be stiff, as it seems to get tighter each and every year. Said Tatsch of dogs in the semifinals and finals, the competitors here know how to give it their all. When it comes together, it can be unbeatable. What could have been many top rounds met with disaster from just a blip of concentration in the semifinals, or in the finals. It's exciting to see them strive so hard and enjoy it so much.

The event also held Agility 1 and 2 Jumping and standard agility classes, junior handler classes, and a seniors class for dogs jumping lower jump heights. The event finished at dusk and was followed by a traditional-style Japanese dinner at the hotel.


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