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Berlin Hosting (yet another) World Championship – This time Boot Throwing

Steifelweitwurf T-Shirt

What an awesome logo: the Berlin Bear, throwing a boot!

Saturday took me on an adventure to northern Berlin – Tegel – in order to attend the closing day of the Boot Throwing World Championships 2013 and World Cup 4.

Lest you think that I am making this kind of bullshit up, I’m not. It’s an actual sport. The objective of the sport is to throw a rubber boot (a Welly, in Irish parlance) as far as you can, staying within the boundaries.

In women’s series the official throwing equipment is a rubber boot of the size 38, left or right foot boot, of which the strap in the top of the leg has been removed. The weight of the boot may be 0,7 kg (630-810 g) and the height up to 37 cm (measured from the heel up to the top rim of the leg). In men’s series the official throwing equipment is a rubber boot of the size 43, left or right foot boot, of which the strap in the top of the leg has been removed.
From the International Boot-Throwing Association IBTA’s Competition Rules of Boot-throwing 2013

Bootthrowing

As I understand it, this is the coach of the German National Bootthrowing Team.

Before today had you told me that it was possible to fling one more than 60 meters (200 feet), I would have assumed that you were trying to pull my leg. Now that I’ve seen it in person, I stand in awe of the athletic prowess demonstrated at the competition.

Boot in Flight!

There’s an art to getting the boot to fly pretty far — although it clearly helps to be tall.

Nine countries were represented on the playing fields at the World Championships: Finland, Germany, Sweden, Russia, New Zealand, Italy, Poland, Estonia, and one other whose name I am temporarily misplacing.

Bootthrowing

About ready to release his boot…

With respect to the men’s competition, to my untrained eye there is one stand out country: Finland. Two out of the top three finishers (at least as I understood the standings at the end of the competition) were Finns and, as I recall, one of the Finns had at least two throws that far exceeded 60 meters.

Bootthrower in Action

The throwing, in many ways, reminded me a bit of ballet–the better competitors clearly had a routine they used before throwing their boot.

It made for a very pleasing afternoon.

Ville Huuskonen, bootthrower

From the outfield vantage point, this boot’s coming my way!

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