Thanks to BBC News for this:

An Irish woman has been crowned the world axe-throwing champion after winning a competition in Canada.

Ceola McGowan, from County Sligo, saw off competitors from across the world to win the World Double Bit Axe Throwing Championships on Sunday.

She said she hoped her win would inspire more women to get involved in the sport.

The 31-year-old was introduced to axe throwing by a friend while at university.

She told BBC News NI her target had been to win the title by the age of 35.

Ceola McGowan Irish

Speaking about her first experience of the sport, she said: “I ran home and put on as much plaid [clothing] that I had and big wellies because all I knew I was heading out to this big barn in the Wicklow mountains to meet these bearded axe throwers.”

After her first throw of the axe, Ms McGowan said she was “immediately hooked” and took up the sport competitively just five months later.

The 31-year-old joined the Wicklow Axe Throwers group and feels there is a great sense of community within the sport.

“The axe-throwing community is like a community of people that you’re just you’re never going to meet in any other kind of form of sport,” Ms McGowan said.

“We have a saying, we have the ‘axe fam’, our axe family. The nationals, the internationals, we all used this term and we all love each other dearly.”

Ceola McGowan Irish

Pole dancing is another sport that Ms McGowan has done for a number of years that she said has helped her in axe throwing.

“It helps me center, it helps me work on my balance, it helps me work on my core,” she explained.

“The pole-dancing community is actually very similar to the axe-throwing community where you’ve got that love, camaraderie and support.”

Ms McGowan has travelled to compete in competitions in Scotland, Sweden and Germany.

“I’ve just been working to build myself up more and more and more in preparation for what I knew was the world championships coming up in Canada,” she added.

The world championships for 2022 took place over the weekend in Nova Scotia, eastern Canada.

Ceola McGowan Irish

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