Intermediate size class joyful gold-winning team: Kati Immonen and border collie Ice, Katariina Kuiro and border collie Wendi, as well as Jaana Leino and Australian shepherd Tyyne. Photo:

International news

The Finnish national team secured an impressive six medals at the Agility Nordic Championships held on August 12th and 13th. The event took place at the Ojanko Arena in Vantaa and featured a total of 122 dog-handler pairs from Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Sweden emerged as the standout performer in the competition.

Three Podium Finishes in Individual Competition, Including Two Historic Achievements

In the individual competition of the Agility PM Championships, Finnish participants achieved podium finishes in three instances:

  • Katariina Kuiro and her border collie Wendi (representing Sawon Agilityurheilijat) claimed gold in the intermediate size class.
  • Riina Kellman and her border collie Kiksi (Run for Fun Agility Team) secured bronze in the intermediate size class.
  • Eeva Ihatsu and her medium-sized poodle Ville (Järvenpään agilityurheilijat) earned silver in the medium size class.

Kuiro's and Kellman's medals are historic as they are the first of their kind, given that the intermediate size class was only introduced internationally this year. This category is designed for dogs measuring between 43 to 48 centimeters in height, which were previously part of the larger "maxi" size class.

Among the maxi-size competitors, Marjo Korander from Vihti and her border collie Hupi achieved the highest ranking by securing sixth place. In the mini-size category, Iida Vakkuri from Espoo and her Shetland sheepdog Helka emerged as the top Finnish performers, finishing in fifth place. Just 0.05 seconds behind Vakkuri and Helka, Janne Grönroos and his Shetland sheepdog Sim from Länsi-Uudenmaan Agilityharrastajat clinched the sixth spot.

Intermediate Dog Handler Teams Also Claim Gold in Team Competition

In the team competition, the Finnish intermediate-sized dog handler teams demonstrated their prowess by clinching gold. The team included Katariina Kuiro and Wendi, Kati Immonen and her border collie Ice (Pakankylän Agilityseura), and Jaana Leino and her Australian shepherd Tyyne (Rauman Käyttö- ja Seurakoirat).

Katariina Kuiro, who secured gold in both individual and team categories, expressed her disbelief at her achievements: "The feeling is amazing. It's hard to believe. I didn't dare to even dream of two gold medals. I knew our team had a chance, but an individual gold didn't seem realistic. I just thought that a medal might be possible if we had an exceptional success."

Kuiro attributed her success to well-planned agility, especially during the final rounds: "I managed to make plans that suited Wendi's strengths, and our teamwork on the tracks was seamless."

Kuiro highlighted various traits that make Wendi a world-class agility dog: "Wendi's best attributes include a strong nervous system, quick accelerations, precise body control, strong obstacle skills, independence, responsiveness, and a 100% partnership with the handler," Kuiro explained.

Minis Retain PM Title, Media Team Wins Bronze

Finland's mini-size team successfully defended their PM title from the previous year. The 2023 team consisted of Iida Vakkuri and Helka, Janika Majasaari and her miniature poodle Nacho, as well as Sanni Kariniemi and her Shetland sheepdog Megs. Notably, Vakkuri and Kariniemi were part of the 2022 gold-winning team as well.

In the media team competition, Finland secured a bronze medal. The medal-winning team included Maria Sori and her cocker spaniel Daim from Turku, Suvi Reini and her medium-sized poodle Ruben, as well as Emmiina Abrahamsson and her Shetland sheepdog Cromi from Lohja.

Praising the Participants and Emphasizing Canine Welfare

Agility Association CEO Tytti Käyhkö celebrated Finland's success over the weekend: "We witnessed impressive performances across all size categories. Finland is admirably embracing the new intermediate size class, while experienced veterans in the mini-size category once again brought home the deserved gold. This weekend bodes well for the upcoming October World Championships!"

Käyhkö also expressed satisfaction with the well-organized PM competitions, which garnered praise from competitors and spectators alike: "Organizing events of this nature is always a significant endeavor involving dozens of people. The contribution of volunteers is particularly vital to the Agility Association and the entire sport."

In addition to acknowledging the achievement of medals, Agility Association and partner noname wished to recognize handlers who exhibited exceptional care and teamwork with their dogs. One of the event's judges, Esa Muotka, selected four participants from whom Sanna Harjunpää from Finland received special recognition. Furthermore, Marjo Korander's child was honored as the most memorable supporter in the competition.

CEO Käyhkö emphasized that sharing these awards is a tangible demonstration of the importance of prioritizing canine well-being in agility: "In this way, Agility Association and noname wanted to internationally highlight the significance of responsible dog ownership, even at the highest level of competitive sports. Our dogs enable us to pursue agility as a hobby, and their selfless desire to collaborate with handlers should always be treated with the utmost respect."

For a full list of PM competition medalists and results, please visit the competition's official website at Sweden emerged as the standout performer in the competition, clinching six individual medals and two team medals. Norway secured six medals, while Denmark earned four.

The Agility Finnish Championships are set to take place in Jyväskylä from August 25th to 27th, and the World Championships will be held in Liberec, Czech Republic, from October 4th to 8th. In 2026, Turku will host the Agility World Championships.