'Reprinted with permission from United States Dog Agility Association
(_www.usdaa.com).'_ (http://www.usdaa.com).')
2008 Japanese IFCS World Agility Championships Team - by Tania Chadwick

Read about the Japanese Team selection process

The first weekend of March was the selection event for the Japanese IFCS World Agility Championships Team. 
Handlers earned the right to compete at the event based on their rankings for 2007. 
The selection event for 2008 had 45 teams overall competing for three spots in each jump height
and selection would be based on their performance in four classes: Standard, Jumpers, Snooker, and Gamblers.

The Japanese sponsoring organization, OPDES (Organization to Promote Dog Education and Socialization),
has numerous dog sports under its umbrella, including search and rescue, obedience, team test (similar to a Canine Good Citizen test), schutzhund, and agility.
Incidentally, dogs must pass the team test in order to participate in OPDES agility events and similar to USDAA, all dogs are able to participate regardless of pedigree. 
There are currently 20 OPDES sponsored agility trials a year and they host the Japanese National Championships, like our Regional Championships in June.

Pudding, a Labrador Retriever owned by Saori Saneyoshi, jumps.

OPDES has their own judges for their events, but for the IFCS event, they enlisted the help of competitor,
Shinya "Tommy" Tominaga, to judge and design the courses for the event. 
Tommy has made himself an expert at Snooker and Gamblers, learning the rules and strategies. 
Snooker and Gamblers aren't part of regular agility trials in Japan,
so there are few judges who are familiar enough with the rules to design or judge these classes. 
Tommy has participated at the Cynosport Games for several years with his Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Jonathon,
and has taken up a crusade to help his fellow agility teammates to become more proficient in Snooker and Gamblers.
 At the 2007 Cynosport Games, the Japanese Team had their best showing ever in Snooker. 

For the IFCS event, Tommy remarked that he designed a "simple and easy course
because most of the competitors still do not understand the rules of the games
and he wanted the competitors to have a good experience in running the courses".  
Although, Tommy designed the Standard and Jumpers classes, those were judged by Mr. Maeshima. 

Shinya Tominaga

There were large crowds on hand to watch the event and all agreed that it was a total success. 
All of the competitors enjoyed this competition and Tommy was pleased that there was a lot of interest
in learning more about Snooker and Gamblers rules. 

Jaguar, a Miniature Poodle, with Takayuki Suzuki

The members of the Japanese team are really looking forward to the 2008 IFCS World Agility Championships in May.

The Japanese IFCS Team for 2008:

Toy Class:
Lucia, Pembroke Welsh Corgi - Susumu Konishi
Rana, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - Kaori Kanemasa
R, Pembroke Welsh Corgi - Mariko Morinaga


Mini Class:
Jaguar, Miniature Poodle - Takayuki Suzuki
Puma, Miniature Poodle - Ayami Suzuki
Kool, Miniature Poodle - Nobuko Akiike

Medium Class:
Rena, Border Collie - Miyoko Kurita
Nanase, BorderCollie - Rie Miyoshi
Anzu, Border Collie - Yoshiko Tanaka

Maxi Class:
Pudding, Labrador Retriever - Saori Saneyoshi
Aruna, Malinois - Tetsu Watanabe
Raphie, Labrador Retriever, Asako Morimi

Photo credits: Tania Chadwick and Shinya Tominaga

Tania Chadwick has been competing in USDAA for over 10 years and competes with her ADCH-Gold, LAA-Silver Border Collie, Kidd.