Team Australia have been crowned the 2019 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Champions after an exhillirating Team Relay Event saw the Chopperoos pip New Zealand to the title in Prague. There was no world record this time around, but they continued to raise the bar as they progressed through the rounds, holding their nerve to win back-to-back titles.
Over 2,500 fans from over 20 different countries, a sell out crowd, piled into the iconic Industrial Palace amidst a racous atmosphere, as the Czech Republic hosted the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Championships for the first time.
The scintillating action saw 20 nations compete in the Team Relay Event, battling against each other in a knockout format across four of the six disciplines: Stock Saw, Single Buck, Underhand Chop and Standing Block Chop.
Australia's Glen Gilliam picked up where he left off 12 months ago, with a series of relentless performances helping his men continue to go faster and faster through the rounds. Perhaps the star of the show though, was newly crowned Australian Champion Brayden Meyer. The 24 year-old came into his own in the underhand chop to help the Chopperoos swipe away Poland at the semi-final stage, setting up a mouth-watering clash with rivals New Zealand.
The Kiwis were certainly raring to go as Kyle Lemon voiced his excitement to face their rivals in the grand final, but it was the Aussies that again came up trumps to take the win in 47.80 seconds to New Zealand's 49.79.
Talking of the win Brad De Losa of Team Australia explained: "We've got such a great group of guys and it feels incredible. We had a couple of hiccups along the way today but to come out and beat New Zealand when it matters and win another World Championship, you can't ask for much more than that."
Reflecting on what might have been New Zealand's Kyle Lemon added: "Ideally first place would've been the way to go, but it wasn't to be. We'll have a team briefing a bit later to review our performance, but regardless it was the best crowd I've performed in front of in the seven or eight years I've been coming. Absolutely awesome."
In the small final, it was Team USA that triumphed much to the delight of TIMBERSPORTS® veteran Matt Cogar, while Poland snatched fourth place to take the plaudits of highest placed European team.
Speaking of his Championships, Cogar commented: "I've been coming here for ten years and the feeling gets better and better every time. You can't beat that feeling and that excitement up on the stage. My teeth are just tangling – it's that good."
Outside of the top four the Czech Republic battled towards a fifth place showing, no doubt buoyed by an incredible home crowd that generated quite the atmosphere.
Following a breath-taking Team Event, Saturday will see the top 12 athletes in the world return to Industrial Palace to compete across all six disciplines in the Individual Event. Australia's Brayden Meyer will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of teammate and last year's individual winner, Laurence O'Toole, to make it back-to-back team and individual wins for the Choperoos, while home hero Martin Roušal will look to feed off the crowd in pursuit of a medal.