Devon trio competing for England win bronze at Tug of War Outdoor World Championships

Jack Routley, Daniel Nicholls and William Criddle are representing England in the Under 23s category. Credit: Jenna Plume.

Three young farmers from Devon have been competing for England in Switzerland in the Tug of War Outdoor World Championships.

Jack Routley, Daniel Nicholls and William Criddle have been representing their country in the U23s category in Sursee this weekend.

The trio, from West Anstey in North Devon, began competing in the sport after getting involved in tug of war through their local young farmers organisation.

But through extensive training, they have managed to compete on the international stage, leading them to winning bronze in the U23 mixed 560kg heat on Sunday 3 September.

This saw teams of four men and four women collectively weighing less than 560kg compete for the title - with the trio's England squad beating Germany in the third place pull-off.

The eight-person team beat Germany in the third place pull-offs to take home the bronze medal. Credit: Jenna Plume.

Jack said: "We've had a very long training process, I think since April we've been training two to three times a week.

"We've done a lot of travelling up to the north of the country every weekend - as young boys, sacrificing our Saturday nights out, our Friday nights out to do training and do big competitions, just to gain all the experience we need to get here.

"Then the last few weeks, all we've really done is train. We've all lost a lot of weight, personally I've lost 12 kilos."

Speaking about stepping out onto the world stage, William said: "The three of us never thought we would have come this far, to be fair, and the fact that we have... as Jack said, this is the real thing."

Daniel added: "It's an unreal experience and maybe we'll try again next year and see what we can do."

Jack told ITV West Country that competing in Switzerland has felt "surreal".

The England U23 team celebrate placing in their heat at the Tug of War Outdoor World Championships. Credit: Jenna Plume.

He said: "You look around and you realise like there are teams here from all over the world. This is as big as it gets, this is as far as we can go. It's just mental to think how far we've come in the last few years."

The trio got into the sport thanks to growing up in their village in Devon and were first attracted to competing by their young farmers group.

Jack said: "Our young farmers do a lot of Tug of War and in North Devon where we're from, there are two or three teams, you know in Devon, I think there's nearly a dozen teams going, predominantly young farmers.

"There are Cornish teams, some Somerset teams so some good competitions down in the southwest, which is really good. It's great, really."

The trio will be returning to the West Country next week along with their fellow England teammates - as well as their hard-won medals.