China made an encouraging debut in international shearing competition today as shearer Haishan Fu reached the semi-final of the Irish All Nations junior championship on the first day of the Golden Shears World Championships in Gorey, Ireland.
The 44-year-old, a shearer for nine years and from Chi Feng city in Inner Mongolia province, had little idea what to expect but surprised by being third fastest of the 12 qualifiers and placed ninth overall on time and quality points.
Although first to finish his two sheep in his semi-final, he failed to reach the top six who qualified for the final, but it was good preparation for the first round of the World Championship tomorrow.
Fellow Chinese shearer Xuequan Qi shore only in the heats of the All Nations junior championship, but also shears in the World Championship round tomorrow, while China is also represented by Rui Li and Lei Wang in the woolhandling championships.
China team spokesperson Zhang Zhuoran said there are three shearing competitions in China each year and Fu is the Chinese champion.
He works for Jinfeng Industrial Co, which uses experienced shearers from Australia in its training programmes.
But the team, which arrived in Ireland only on Monday, had come to the championships to learn and mix with the best shearers in the World, she said.
The World shearing championship is expected to be dominated by Open-class New Zealand, UK and Ireland, and Australian competitors, many of whom are capable of shearing over 600 sheep in a working day.
The Junior class in which Fu and Qi shore today is limited to shearers who have shorn under 200 in a day.