Female Jousters to compete this summer

Women will join English Heritage jousts for the first time this summer, kicking off at Kenilworth Castle this weekend.

Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire will be the first of four English Heritage castles to see a woman jousting against men this summer.

Nicky Willis and Alix van Zijl, two of the leading jousters on the European circuit, will compete in the medieval sport, dressed in full armour and armed with lances like their male counterparts.

Nicky Willis, who regularly jousts on the continent and has trained horses for jousting for over ten years said:

"I have heard how much fun it is to joust at Kenilworth, and can't wait to be part of the action this year. Kenilworth is famed for some of the most elaborate tournaments in medieval England - as well playing host to one of England's strongest women, Queen Elizabeth I - so it's the perfect place to sort the women from the boys!"

'The best of the best'

Emily Sewell, English Heritage Head of Events, said:

"Historically, the knights who took part in jousting tournaments were an elite band, the best of the best. No women were amongst that group. Now they are, and in order to bring our visitors the opportunity to witness some of the most accomplished knights on the circuit, it made complete sense to invite the leading female jousters to join us this summer."

Horsewoman extraordinaire Nicky Willis will take the reins in Kenilworth's Grand Medieval Joust on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June as well as at Pendennis Castle (2-3 and 9-10 August).

Alix van Zijl will contest the tournaments at Carisbrooke Castle (16-18 and 23-25 August) and Bolsover Castle (28-29 August) against the world's best jousting talent, including her partner Joram van Essen.

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