Germans 'pull finger' at Wrestling Champs
Tue, 22 May 2012 9:35a.m.
The 35th annual edition of the Alpine Finger Wrestling Championships were held in Schnaitsee, Chiemgau in the heart of Bavaria, Germany recently.
The unusual discipline of finger wrestling - or 'fingerhakeln' - is said to have settled disputes in the Alps as early as the 17th century - but in modern times has blossomed into a sport in its own right.
The contest works as follows: Two contestants, usually men, sitting on opposite sides of a substantial table, thread their fingers into a strap. Once in position, they wait for the referee to give a signal, before pulling as hard as they possibly can.
The winner is the person who manages to pull the other contestant across the table, using only his finger, with the middle finger being the preferred digit due to its strength and size - two crucial components of successful finger wrestling.
Competitors subject themselves to an intense regime of finger training in the build up to a tournament, with some preferring to squeeze tennis balls or holding their own body weight with a single finger, some insist that a series of one-finger press ups is the best method of strengthening.
In the 2012 edition 156 finger wrestlers faced off over nine categories whilst a crowd of 400, mostly local, people indulged in some typical Germanic hospitality replete with local ale and Leiderhosen, the national dress of Germany.
From all of the various divisions, which includes juniors and a raft of weight categories the heavyweight title is the one, like in so many other sports, that is coveted by those taking part.
This year Josef Utzschneider from Werdenfels in southern Germany captured the heavyweight category, with Andreas Lindenthaler finishing as runner up.
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