Fingerhakeln and Hornussen - Euro hosts enjoy sports

May 29th, 2008 - 11:36 am ICT by admin  

Geneva, May 29 (DPA) Switzerland are tipped to do better than Austria at Euro 2008 - and they also have the edge as far as obscure sports in the two host countries of the football tournament are concerned. Die-hard Swiss like to gather for Hornussen (something of a mixture between golf and baseball) and Schwingen (wrestling). There is also Steinstossen (throwing a giant stone).

Austria has its own variant of wrestling, but just with one finger, the Fingerhakeln, which is practised around the country.

Hornussen, Schwingen and Steinstossen all have their own events and come together every three years at the so-called Eidgenoessische Schwing-und Aelplerfest, a major event in Swiss culture, which is next set for 2010.

In 2007, Joerg Abderhalden was only the third man to become the Schwingerkoenig (king of Schwingen) in the event’s long history.

Practised by around 4,500 men, a Schwing match takes place on a saw-dust-covered ring with a diameter of 12 metres. Schwingers wear short pants made of jute over their clothes, and try to throw each other onto their backs.

There are various throws, some similar to judo, in the sport which dates back to the 17th century. A Schwingen tournament consists of up to eight matches, with the winners’ price not a huge amount of cash, but for instance simply a bull at the Eidgenoessische event.

“It is not just a sport, it is an event,” says Ernst Schl

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