Pole dancing has a reputation as being a sleazy activity - but watching the competitors at the World Pole Dancing Championship in Zurich shows that some women (and the odd man) clearly treat it as a sport.

The grace and power shown by those taking part is quite breathtaking - they make it look more like pole gymnastics.

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The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography

And there's no doubting that you need to be incredibly physically fit to pull off the routines on show at the championship.

In the end the medal winners hailed mostly from the Ukraine and Russia, but the UK did pick up a gong, with Soho scene dancer Nico Modestine winning Best Entertainer in the male category.

WINNER Female Singles – Natalia Tatarintseva - Ukraine

Second – Lawrence Hilsum - France

Third – Polina Volchek- Russia

Best Tricks - Polina Volchek- Russia

Best Entertainer - Natalia Tatarintseva - Ukraine

Best Costume – Julia Snopova - Russia

WINNER Males – Keem Martinez - France

Second – Kristian Lebvedev - Russia

Third – Oleksandr Shchukin - Ukraine

Best Tricks - Kristian Lebvedev - Russia

Best Entertainer – Nico Modestine - UK

Best Costume - Kristian Lebvedev – Russia

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  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participate at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor prepares prior to participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor prepares prior to participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A detail of a competitor as she participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Competitors prepare prior to participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor streches before participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor looks on prior to participate at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Competitors prepare prior to participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: The audience looks at a competitor participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Competitors prepare prior to participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Competitors participate at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Competitors joke prior to participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor streches before participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Competitors participate at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Competitors prepare prior to participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Judges mark a competitor participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Competitors participate at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Competitors participate at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Competitors participate at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Competitors prepare prior to participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Details of competitors as she participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor streches before participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Competitors participate at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: The audience looks at a competitor participating at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Competitors participate at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

  • World Pole Dancing Championship 2012

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A competitor participates at the World Pole Dancing Championship 2012 held at the Volkshaus on November 10, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. The public's perception of pole dancing has recently changed to become a popular sport combining physical strength, technique and choreography. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)