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German named 'arse bombing' world champ

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German named 'arse bombing' world champ
Going down with a bang. The splash diving championships 2015. Photo: DPA
12:55 CEST+02:00
Summer went out with a bang - and a splash - in southwest Germany, where the finals of the "arse bombing“ world championship 2015 were held on Sunday.

On first appearance arse bombing – or as its officially known 'splash diving' - is to diving what dancing drunkenly in a nightclub is to ballet. Elegant it is most certainly not.

But it is also a sport which requires a great deal of athleticism... and a bit of bravery too, judging by the sound made when contestants hit the water.

Whereas in diving, contestants are judged upon their ability to land as smoothly as possible in the water, in splash diving points are awarded for the size of the splash that is created on impact.

But leading competitors say that it doesn't hurt as much as it looks.

"The pain is minimal," said newly-crowned world champion Rainhard Riede from Bavaria, adding that the more often he jumps the less it hurts.

"You get used to it," said pre-competition favourite Lukas Eglseder.

That takes some believing seeing, as one of the most popular ways of hitting the water is in a position known as"the potato" – a head and knees first impact from a height of ten metres.

Contestants can choose from 13 ways of hitting the water, including the classic 'arse bomb' – landing bum first with knees tucked into the stomach. Other shapes are called 'the cat,' 'the chair and – particularly painful sounding - 'the plank.'

Finnish contestant Tuukka Palonen explains the point of the sport thus: "It's simply about having a huge amount of fun."

Palonen, who works in the summer as a "clown diver" in his home country, made the 22-hour trip by car to compete in the competition.

But it's not just about the impact. Riede managed to get his hands on the prize through performing an impressive array of somersaults and twists before hitting the water with maximum impact.

Jürgen Hellmuth, a corpulent 33-year-old who impressed the crowd with the heftiness of his landings, explained that his weight was a disadvantage. Being heavier meant he fell quicker than lighter competitors and had less time to perform moves.

And in the women's competition a German also walked away with gold, even if she had no competition. Franziska Fritz, a 15-year-old from Saarland, won the competition for the third year in a row but bemoaned the lack of female interest in the sport.

"It's a shame that I'm always so alone," she said, guessing that women were put off the sport by the apparent pain involved.

But here message was the same as that of the men.

"You get used to the pain," she said.

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