Poland's Szymon Groenwald (Centre), Curtis Bennett from Australia (L.) and Sam Bellamy from New Zealand (R.) placed on the podium at the 2023 Rookie World Championship.

9 June 2023 - It was an unforgettable birthday for Poland’s Szymon Groenwald, as the young ace produced a stunning display, setting a new world record in both the Underhand Chop and Single Buck to pip Australia’s Curtis Bennett to the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Rookie World Championship, with New Zealand’s Sam Bellamy finishing in third.

After a powerful opener in the Underhand Chop which set a striking new world record time of 13.64 seconds, Groenwald overcame adversity following a disqualification in the Stock Saw to set another stunning world record with a time of 9:01 in the Single Buck to claim the title. Bennett closely followed, showcasing his extreme power on route to a second-place finish, while New Zealander Sam Bellamy secured the final podium place.

The Rookie World Championship starred 12 of the finest young talent in the world of TIMBERSPORTS®. Across the renowned five disciplines – Stock Saw, Underhand Chop, Standing Chop, Single Buck and Springboard the athletes went neck-and-neck to stake their claim as the best Rookie on the planet.  

Aussie Bennett soared into an early lead with back-to-back personal best
Standing proud, marginal-tournament favourite Curtis Bennett chopped up a storm in the first two disciplines, setting a personal best in both the Underhand Chop and Stock Saw to cement his place in first position in the standings. The opening disciplines saw six athletes set new personal best times in the Underhand Chop, including Belgium’s 16-year-old prodigee Kamiel Van Raemdonck. Going one better in the Underhand Chop, Poland’s young sensation Szymon Groenwald set a new world record time of 13:64 seconds.

Groenwald opens title bid with another world record coming in the Single Buck
Visibly frustrated following a disqualification in the Stock Saw, Groenwald sawed himself into the overall lead, cutting through the log like a hot knife through butter to set a jaw-dropping, new world record in the Single Buck with a remarkable time of 9:01 seconds. Not batting an eyelid, a series of

personal bests rained, with Sam Bellamy achieving both in the Standing Block Chop and Single Buck, whilst Bennett cleaned off a full cookie in quick succession, as the trio occupied the top three positions heading into the final discipline.

Groenwald holds nerve in epic final showdown
In a nail-biting end, Bennett recorded a personal best time of 43:15 seconds in the Springboard to preliminary take his place in the hotseat, before the final heat saw Groenwald and Bellamy take to the stage with all at stake. Bellamy brought his A-Game, also recording a personal best finish of 48:22, however Groenwald’s explosive athleticism and determination was unmatchable as the Pole leathered through the log 1:15 seconds quicker than Bennett to take home the title.

Szymon Groenwald, the 2023 Rookie World Champion: “The important thing is to always fight on to the end and not give up. The support in advance and especially here on site on my birthday was simply overwhelming.”

Curtis Bennett, speaking after finishing runner-up said: “The competition was okay, probably not as good as I wanted it to be. Szymon is obviously a very good competitor. It was good to have that sort of competition, but unfortunately today he was just better.“

In joyful spirits, Sam Bellamy, who finished third on the podium added: “The competition was bloody awesome to be fair. It went a lot better than I had expected. I had some pretty good times in the disciplines, which meant some personal bests.” 

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