NELSON Mandela Bay will soon send four local handlers and five of their canine companions off to the Netherlands for the International Federation of Cynological Sports (IFCS) Agility World Championships, which will take place in Hellendoorn from April 10 to 14.They are Sam Wainwright with her cross breed, Brandi, Roché Compaan with his Staffie-Jack Russell cross breed, Sumo, Samantha Kay Stedman with her border collie, Cal, and Nanette Perold with her two toy poodles, Pop Corn and Noodle.According to Wainwright, in order to qualify for the IFCS Agility World Champs, they needed to attend a minimum of four shows during the year around the country after which the top five dogs in each height category were selected based on the number of points accumulated at the shows. Based on their experience and outstanding history in the sport, these five furry friends had no trouble making the cut.Brandi is a triple champion, a non-contact grand champion and the Reserve SA Agility champion for 2018. “I rescued Brandi off the streets. We have been competing for eight years and she thrives on the competition vibe. I am looking forward to our first international experience together and know that no matter what, we will enjoy every minute of it,” Wainwright said.With Brandi already nine years old, this is their last chance to travel and compete internationally.“We will continue jumping for a year or two and she will then go on retirement and just continue enjoying beach walks and living the good life.”Compaan, who along with his buddy, Sumo, will be joining them, is also excited for the competition.“Sumo was born in 2011 with a huge heart. He gives 100% in everything he does and knows when to give an extra 10% on big occasions,” Compaan said. They started competing in agility events in October 2012 and have been addicted to the sport ever since.Sumo was the KUSA South African Champion in the medium category in 2015, the reserve champion in the KUSA Dog Jumping Championship in 2016, the SADAA mini national champion in 2016 and 2018 and the SADAA mini national reserve champion in 2017.“We have been selected to represent SADAA at the IFCS World Agility Champs for the past three years. In 2017, Sumo won a silver medal in snooker. Excellent placings in all the other individual rounds gave us the fourth place overall. We ended 2017 on a high note by winning the Animaltalk/Bravecto Top Dog of the Year in the Agility Medium Category.”Last year, Sumo became an Elite Agility Champion, a title bestowed on only seven dogs in the history of the South African Agility Dog Association.“We are training very hard for this year’s world champs and are going to try our best to bring back a gold medal. We will most definitely perform to the best of our abilities and I will enjoy the unique connection I have with my canine companion, on and off the course.”Although Stedman and the seven-year-old Cal got a late start to the sport, they have become quite a formidable team as well.“Cal is a bit of a late developer and really only came into his own in late 2017 at six years old. “He has shown a talent for games, especially snooker and gamblers, and was the national Maxi Games Dog for 2018,” Stedman said.“This is our second trip overseas and I found it a real honour to stand with Cal on the start line in Italy last year. Cal is really like my best bud: ready to do anything and go anywhere with me. We are looking forward to our Dutch adventure and are excited to once again be part of the IFCS team.”Perold and her dynamic duo are also fired up and ready to take on whatever the IFCS Agility World Champs will throw their way.Pop Corn, the baby of the family at only five years old, took to agility events immediately.“He represented South Africa in Spain in 2017 as an individual and has also accumulated many accolades in his short span of agility,” a proud Perold said. “He also does obedience, is qualified in CD and BH, started WUD and loves his nosework. He is a really energised little guy.”The other half of the duo, nine-year-old Noodle, was the first dog to represent South Africa in IFCS and FCI. “In 2013 he was part of the team that won the bronze medal in world agility and in 2014 he was in the team that won a silver medal in world agility in Holland. He also represented SA in 2017 in Spain. Over the years he has accumulated many accolades and has been among the top minis in the country year after year.”For more info and to watch the live stream, go to www.worldagilitychampionship.com.