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Mud Olympics shows gold where there’s muck

Hundreds of Germany's dirtiest athletes gathered on the banks of the North Sea on Sunday for the Mud Olympics, where competitors squelched around to raise money for a counselling service for cancer patients.

Mud Olympics shows gold where there's muck
Photo: DPA

This year’s ninth annual Wattolümpiade saw 34 teams descend on the town of Brunsbüttel, where they spent the day battling it out on the Elbe river mud-flats for medals in football, volleyball, handball as well as an enthusiastically received new addition – mud sledging.

Running under the motto “dirty sport for a good cause”, entrance fees went towards a local counselling service for cancer patients and organisers are hoping that this year’s profits match last year’s which totted up more than €150,000, the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported.

Many of the competitors turned up in costumes and entire families dressed as rock band Kiss were spotted, as well as a gaggle of men calling themselves the Schlammburger Jungs Olé who all donned big plastic bottoms for the event.

Check out the muddy action, here.

Schleswig Holstein’s state premier Torsten Albig opened the one-day extravaganza, but politely declined an invitation to take part. “I’m scared that, with my weight, I’d just sink,” he said.

State representative Oliver Kumbartzky seemed less body conscious, but said although perfect sporting skills were not vital to the event, he planned to get fitter and join a football team to take part soon.

According to seasoned alternative-athletes, the trick is to “grip your opponent and force them into a mud-wrestle,” said competitor Insa Krups.

She didn’t say how this would help in a game of football though, which could explain why she then said “I’m happy if we even make it past the first round.”

Unlike the London Olympics though, athletes don’t have to worry about strict drugs testing. Many begin the party before the games had even begun – one competitor from the “Chemie Gladiatoren” team replied “never!” when asked if he and his team were sober for the kick-off.

The Local/jcw

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UKRAINE

German football club ends partnership with Russia’s Gazprom

German football club Schalke 04 announced Monday it had prematurely ended its partnership with Russian gas giant Gazprom following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

German football club ends partnership with Russia's Gazprom

The deal between the second-tier German club and Gazprom had been due to run until 2025 with Schalke receiving around €9 million ($10 million) per year in sponsorship.

Had the Gelsenkirchen-based club won promotion back to the Bundesliga at the end of this season, the sponsorship figure would have risen to €15 million annually.

Schalke had already removed the Gazprom logo from their shirts for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Karlsruhe.

In a statement, Schalke said their finances were “unaffected by this decision”.

“The club’s management is confident that it will be able to present a new partner in the near future.”

READ ALSO: OPINION: Germany has scuppered Nord Stream 2 but there are questions left to answer

Gazprom representative Matthias Warnig resigned from the club’s supervisory board last Thursday.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, interim president of the German Football Association (DFB), had already hinted there could be financial aid for Schalke if they split from Gazprom.

“If this requires the solidarity of other clubs in Germany to get them out of this situation, then we have to discuss how we can manage that,” Watzke told ZDF.

READ ALSO: Germany set to shut airspace to Russian planes on Sunday

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