While the rest of the sports media was focussed on the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea I was making my own debut representing my country on the international sports stage. This was the first Scythe Mowing Competition in Gyimes, Transylvania organised by Attila Sarig as part of the Haymaking Festival. The aim was to draw attention among the local population of our presence in the village and show the work of mowing with a scythe can be more than just hard work.
The local newspapers and a tv cameraman turned out for the competition which included competitors from Romania, England, Scotland, Austria and Norway.
This was a simple sprint race, downhill through a light sward of second-cut grass so times were fast and I was knocked out in my heat by the meadow owner who was kind enough to say he’d never worked so hard.. Representing the two ends of the age spectrum were Norby Antal, aged 13 and ‘Aunt Lizzie’ aged 78 who mowed with ease and style before heading back to the real work of tending her vegetable garden.
In the end the final came down to a clash between Julian Holbrook of Scotland and Szilveszter Oltean, a local farmer who just pipped Julian to the line and took away a new scythe as his prize. We found out later that Szilveszter is also the champion for the local sport of downhill sledging, something we may be returning to Tryansylvania to try our luck at.