Irish team ready to plough a new furrow in Kenya

The Irish ploughing team has hit Kenyan soil for the 64th World Ploughing Championships. Eamonn Tracey and John Whelan flew out last Thursday evening, following a send off from the National Ploughing Association in Co. Carlow.

This year’s competition will take place on Ngongongeri Farm in Egerton University, Nakuru. It will run from November 27 to December 2.

The Irish representatives have flown out in advance to practice in the Kenyan ground conditions ahead of the big event. Tracey and Whelan have also been travelling through Kenya en route to the contest and have seen some of the Kenyan wheat harvest taking place.

The Irish ploughing team in the fields in Kenya for practice

Kenya last hosted the event 22 years ago, in 1995. Kenya will also compete in this year’s competition. South Africa has competed in previous years. However, no other African nation will partake this year.

The majority of the other countries competing are from Europe, with the exception of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US.

22 countries will compete in the conventional plough class, along with Ireland’s Tracey. In addition, 23 others will compete in the reversible class in which Whelan will contest.

Both Irish competitors have become world champions in their respective categories in the past. Whelan won for the first time in 2013, while Tracey followed in his class the year after.

The World Ploughing Championships are set to take place in Germany in 2018, Russia in 2019 and the US in 2019. The competition will return to Ireland in 2021.