Higher, faster, more fun

Slapstick with a sporty core: we introduce you to four bizarre championships

Splashdiving dpa

Germany. Smack! Splat! Ouch! “You splash, it’s loud, and it’s against the rules“ – so splashdiver Malte Kruse describes the charm of this free-style variant of high diving. Here the athletic jumpers crash bottoms first from the ten-metres high springboard. On the way, they form artful figures called the “wide cat” and the “potato bomb”.

You splash, it’s loud, and it’s against the rules

Accompanied by the cheers of the spectators, water splashes from the pool. Does it hurt? “You get used to the pain”, assures 16-year-old Franziska Fritz, World Champion in 2016.

Splashdiving World Championship 2017, 29-30 July 2017, Sindelfingen swimming pool

World Klapp

This bicycle race is unique in the world: fancifully costumed cyclists with real and fake beards pedal their folding bikes like mad. The inventors of World-Klapp bring the 1970s back to life, the era of folding bikes and moustaches. Back then no one wore a bicycle helmet. The rules are strict: only 20-inch folding bikes without gearing and with original handlebars are allowed. And the same rule applies even for women participants: no beard, no start. But gluing-on is permitted. World Klapp 2017 took place as part of the anniversary celebrations for “200 Years Bicycle” in Mannheim – a cheerful spectacle with more than 50 teams.

Moor football

This place would have been banned by the football association FIFA without delay: the playing field is a roughly ploughed field, which was flooded with water shortly before the tournament. In the German Championship in Moor Football, teams consisting of six players compete against each other without sparing bone or clothing. It is not at all easy to hit the ball in the mud and slam it unerringly into the goal. The idea for this mud bath comes from Finland, where the annual World Championship takes place. The next German Championship has been announced for 2018.

German Marbles Championship

By contrast, playing marbles is well-groomed and comfortable. At the German Marbles Championship, the children’s game is taken with adult seriousness: numerous clubs decide who is the best in categories such as “English Ring-Taw” and “German Marbles”. The playing area is a nine-metre long track with a small hole in the middle. It takes hours before the last marble is sunk.

German Marbles Championship 2015
German Marbles Championship 2015 dpa