Bavarian machos gather for finger-pulling fest

"Ready, set, PULLLLL!" About 150 men took part in the annual Alpine finger wrestling championship in the southern German town of Lenggries on Sunday.

Bavarian machos gather for finger-pulling fest
2003 Finger Pullling Championships Photo: DPA

The unusual competition is essentially a one-finger tug-of-war. Competitors, many of them sporting traditional Bavarian lederhosen, sit across from one another at a table, locking a single finger – usually the middle one – into a leather ring.

The referee then blows the whistle and each man attempts to pull his opponent across the table. The winner is whoever manages to drag the other over the halfway mark twice.

This year’s victor was the team from Ammergau.

Finger-pullers must not only be strong, but also have a high pain tolerance: bloody fingers are all part of the traditional Bavarian sport.

“When you’re on stage during the competition, you don’t notice if you’re in pain or not,” said Georg Brandhofer, a member of the Isargau Club, which hosted this year’s competition.

The 17-year-old Brandhofer began training months ahead of Sunday’s competition, using weights and expandable bands to strengthen muscles and tendons in his hands and arms.

According to legend, the Alpine sport was once a way of settling disagreements. It’s now a regulated sporting event in Bavaria and parts of Austria, with guidelines governing everything from the size of the tables to the circumference of the leather bands and the competitors’ weight classes.

Another strict rule: Women are not allowed to compete. “It just does not fit,” said Thomas Kell of the Isargau Club, explaining the rule.

The Local/DPA/DAPD/sh

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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.”

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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.

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