NZ farmers urge Olympic shearing

02:47, Jan 17 2012
Golden Shears shearing
SOLID GOLD SPORT: Ivan Scott during his record-breaking shearing effort.

When thinking of sheep shearing, the words elite sport don't immediately come to most people's mind.

New Zealand's Federated Farmers is hoping this will one day change with the push for shearing to become the next big Olympic sport.

Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre chairwoman Jeannette Maxwell said shearing was a sport that deserved international recognition and has potential to become a demonstration sport at the Commonwealth Games, or even, the Olympics.

"I can testify to the physical effort shearing takes. People like Ivan Scott, Kerri-Jo Te Huia and our World Championships team are athletes who take it to another level."

Maxwell said competitive shearers clip up to 700 sheep over an eight-hour period, in a feat that has been likened to running two marathons back-to-back.

Earlier this month, Irishman Ivan Scott sheared 749 lambs in eight hours to beat the previous solo lamb shearing world record, while New Zealander Kerri-Jo Te Huia sheared 507 lambs in the same time to claim the women's world record.

The idea was first suggested by Sports Shear Australia in 2008, but the Australian Sports Commission rejected it in 2009.

The shearing World Championships will be held in Masterton in March.