UEA Economics professor Bruce Lyons wins top Kennel Club dog agility competition
- Credit: Yulia Titovets
The professor who lives in Norwich beat professionals in the finals held at Olympia in London
By day he is an economics professor at UEA and a highly-respected authority on competition policy.
But away from the lecture theatre, Professor Bruce Lyons, is focused on an entirely different type of competition altogether. The academic – along with his pet sheepdog, Wiz – is one of the country's leading figures in the sport of dog agility.
The pair recently came first in the novice category of the Kennel Club's Olympia Agility Stakes finals, held at the Olympia centre in London. This is one of the top events on the dog agility calendar.
Beating full time professional dog trainers, Prof Lyons and Wiz excelled in front of a crowd of almost 9,000 to take the prize.
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Prof Lyons, of The Avenues, Norwich, acknowledged that many people had been struck by the contrast between his day job and hobby, but suggested there were links.
'Since winning the award, people in the dog world have said 'Gosh, I did not know you were a professor' and vice versa,' he said. 'At work there is less running about, although it doesn't always feel like it.'
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'It is great downtime and I really enjoy meeting different people to those in the academic world. If you have a competitive edge then it will bring out the best in you, it is the same in economics.'
Prof Lyons – deputy director of the Centre for Competition Policy at UEA – added: 'To win you have to be faultless.
'Agility is a lot like a horse jumping show, but it is a lot quicker and it involves a lot of training and practice to get to this level.'
A 61-year-old grandfather, Prof Lyons was one of the oldest handlers at the event. He got involved with agility eight years ago with his other dog Zip, after seeing a performance at a county show.
With 25 or so events a year, all eyes in the agility world are now on the next big event – Crufts, which is coming up in March.
Prof Lyons described the sport as 'totally exhausting,' but said that Wiz loved the attention.
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