Tue, Jul 14, 2009 - Page 18 News List

The World Games 2009 Kaohsiung: Fistball, frisbee coming to a stadium near you

By Richard Hazeldine  /  STAFF REPORTER

Students prepare to fin-swim at Kaohsiung Municipal Rueisiang High School last month. The Kaohsiung City Government invited members of Taiwan’s fin-swimming team for the World Games to coach students.

PHOTO: HUANG HSU-LEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Some of the 31 sports at the World Games are a little unusual, to say the least. Here is part one of our guide to some of the most obscure.BOULES

Usually associated with beret wearing French pensioners, Boules in the World Games is a tad more competitive.

There are three main variations; Boules Lyonnaise, Petanque and Raffa.

The rules for all three are very similar, the only difference being in the size and surface of the playing field, the material and size of the boule and the throwing action.

In Petanque the players throw the boules underhand while standing within a 50cm-diameter circle, whereas in Boules Lyonnaise and Raffa players are allowed to take steps before delivery.

Petanque and Lyonnaise use metal boules whereas Raffa uses synthetic boules.

The basic rules are:

One player tosses the jack (or target ball) to a suitable distance.

The players or teams then take it in turns to throw their boules, trying either to get it as close to the jack as possible or to knock the opposition’s boule away from the jack. Once all the boules are thrown, the scores are tallied.

Only the team with boules closest to the jack score. If a team has three boules closer to the jack than the nearest opposition boule then they score three points, two boules closer equals two points, and so on.

Other variations include Boules Lyonnaise shuttle throw, where competitors have five minutes to run from one end of the field to the other, each time picking up a bowl and throwing at a target ball, and Precision Throw, where accuracy is key.

Events: Boule Lyonnaise individual shuttle throw (Male, Female); Boule Lyonnaise precision throw (M/F); Petanque doubles (M/F); Raffa doubles (M/F)

Venue: 228 Memorial Park (228 和平公園) Date: Mon 20–Wed 22.

FIN SWIMMING

In fin swimming competitors use a huge monofin to effectively turn themselves into human dolphins. This enables fin swimmers to travel much faster, making multiple Olympic champion Michael Phelps look cumbersome. The world record for 50m freestyle stands at just under 21 seconds, whereas the fin swimming record is 14.18 seconds.

There are two disciplines on show in Kaohsiung: Surface, where swimmers use a snorkel and are allowed to breath; and apnea, where they have to stay under water (competitors suspected of breathing are disqualified.)

Events: 100m surface (M/F) 200m surface (M/F) 400m surface (M/F), 4 x 100m relay surface (M/W), 50m apnea (M/W)

Venue: Kaohsiung Swimming Pool (國際游泳池) Date: Thur 23–Fri 24.

FISTBALL

Although many people have never heard of it, Fistball has been played in Italy for hundreds of years. The first mention of the sport dates from the Roman period.

The rules are similar to volleyball, except the ball is allowed to bounce between each contact. It is usually played outside on a 20m by 50m field with a 2m high net in the center. There are five players on a team and the aim of the game is to knock the ball into the other team’s half in such a way that it can’t be returned. Once the ball crosses the net, a team has three hits to return it. Contact with the ball can only be made using the fist.

The first team to score twenty points wins the set and matches are best of three sets.

Events: Men’s Fistball

Venue: Chung Cheng Stadium (中正運動場) Date: Fri 17–Mon 20.

FLYING DISC (FRISBEE)

The most popular of all Frisbee games and the one played at the World Games is “Ultimate.”

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