In battle between 100m track sprint and 25m pole climb, pole climbing world record-holder Grant Gallier came out top at World Pole Climbing Champs

He might have raced some of the best sprinters in the world on the track but on Saturday Harry Aikines-Aryeetey faced a new challenge as he took on world pole climbing record-holder Grant Gallier in a track vs tree battle.

Despite clocking 10.15, which would have been the sprinter’s fourth quickest time this year had it have been made official, Aikines-Aryeetey was beaten by Gallier with 9.90 – a time 0.83 off his world record – in front of large crowds of spectators at the Husqvarna World Pole Climbing Championships, held as part of APF (Association of Professional Foresters) 2014  in Alcester, Warwickshire.

“What an amazing day,” said Aikines-Aryeetey, who won European 100m bronze and 4x100m relay gold in Zurich as well as Commonwealth relay silver in Glasgow this summer.

“When the call came through from the guys at Husqvarna, I thought I just have to do it! This is a real sport in itself. It’s so physically tiring that you just have to applaud these guys.”

Former sprinter Iwan Thomas commentated on the event before challenging his own vertigo to climb the 25m pole in 1:32.

“Pole climbing really is an elite sport, it takes real strength and power to get up that pole, especially if you’re not a fan of heights like myself!” he said.

For more information on the event and pole climbing, see husqvarna.com.