A Sarnia man has been invited by the government of China to take part in a demonstration of knife-throwing next year.
Brett Dewhirst is one of only 30 athletes handpicked to participate in the 2020 tournament.
China is experiencing a surge of interest in the sport thanks to the popularity of a knife-throwing cartoon character, said the 23-year-old instructor at Sarnia’s Valley Axe.
“I never would have thought it would evolve into this.”
The invitation is just the latest achievement for Dewhirst, who is fresh off winning a pair of medals at the International Knife and Tomahawk Hall of Fame (IKTHOF) World Championships.
The event held in Pembroke, Ont. in June drew 93 throwers from around the globe.
Dewhirst won gold in knife-throwing with a score of 257 of a potential 300 points.
And he finished second in axe. His score of 257 was five points behind the current world record holder, Werner Lengmüller.
“Beaten by the world record holder. I’m not upset by that,” said Dewhirst, one of only four axe throwers and 14 knife throwers to ever break 250 points in competition.
Reaching that threshold places a thrower in the elite masters category.
He’s preparing now for the IKTHOF National Championships in August, which is hosted by Sarnia’s Valley Axe. He’s also attending meets in Detroit and Arizona this year.
When not competing, Dewhirst teaches at the London Road throwing range and instructs a handful of clients at his teaching academy, SOS Knife Throwing.
Dewhirst has earned a few sponsorships that help cover travel and tournament fees, and his goal is to add more to become a full-time blade thrower.
He holds two world records of his own: highest amateur knife score (217/300) and highest gold cup round (87/90).
“They’re great achievements but the big thing is not letting it get to your head,” he said.
“Just because I have these great scores doesn’t mean I’m not beatable.”