World Alternative Games 2012
Finger Jousting Championships
Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, UK, 6 Sep 2012 - Competitors from five countries competed in the Finger Jousting Championships at the World Alternative Games in Wales. Philip “Mr. Big” Large from Coventry, England won the Men’s Championship, while Danitsja “Dani Banana” Kallendorf from the Netherlands won the Women’s title.
On Friday, 24 August 2012 the first-ever Finger Jousting Championships in the UK were hosted by the World Alternative Games 2012 and endorsed by the sport’s governing body, the World Finger Jousting Federation (WFJF). At a time when the world’s eyes were on Britain and the sporting world, the World Alternative Games captured the public’s imagination and the media spotlight to promote less recognized sports and their participants. The tournament took place in Britain’s smallest town, Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales.
The competition was split into two categories—Male and Female—and was an international affair with the twelve competitors hailing from the Netherlands, France, the Republic of Ireland, Wales and England. Players competed in a single elimination knockout format tournament played to six-points over three one-minute rounds of finger jousting action.
Finger jousting is a sport where two consenting players square off in an attempt to prod their opponent with their lancing (right) index finger before the opposing player can. The competitors must keep their right hands locked in an arm wrestling fashion and not use their legs or latent (left) arm in an offensive manner. The competitors are known as jousters, and the act of touching the other person’s body with the index finger is known as lancing.
Prior to the competition, a series of exhibition bouts were played to explain the point play rule-set for the tournament. With inclement weather, a decision was made to move the tournament arena inside from the playground of the Ysgol Dolafon to the Bromsgrove Hall sports hall.
With the time for the poking and prodding nigh, the players and spectators were given a briefing on the rules and etiquette of the sport and the WFJF Code of Conduct, calling for Respect, Decorum, Indisturbance and Manicure. An announcement of the retirement of Polish competitor Jas “The Polish Hammer” Kukielka was made, which was greeted by relief from some of the jousters. The “Hammer” had spent time preparing for the event, but a construction injury caused by a wayward mallet blow to the hand ruled him out of the contest. Players were also reminded of the elements of victory and the “4 Quadrants” of finger jousting: Quickness, Strength, Technique, and Tradition.
With competitors having studied hours of videotape ahead of the championships, the jousters were ready to employ their tactics and have full movement within the confines of the coned-off area of the arena. Each of the finger jousters received a formal introduction to the crowd before the action could begin, with fans given details of the players’ names, arena names, hometowns and “vital statistics.” Before the whistle blew to start the first match, the essence of the game was boiled down by an excited spectator who said “With Finger Jousting it’s ‘Prod, or be Prodded!’”
The spectators were treated to a rolling schedule of bouts over the course of the two-hour championships. Enthralled, amazed, intrigued and mesmerized by the finger jousting displayed during the contests, the crowd witnessed a cast of colorful characters battle for the titles and prestigious gold medals and with the finger jousting action coming thick and fast with the crowd picking out the goodies to “cheer” and baddies to “boo”!
In round one of the women’s championship, “Dame” Julia Galvin from the Principality of Hutt River (and a resident of the Republic of Ireland) was drawn to face Nicole Cabon of France. The contest would be the first of three matches to be won with a 6-0 scoreline. The victory went to “Dame” Julia, who would face Danitsja “Dani Banana” Kallendorf of Weesp in the Netherlands in the first semi-final match. “Dani Banana” had defeated Joni Siahaitun in a double-Dutch match that went the full distance before Dani emerged victorious 4-2.
The playing order of the men’s and women’s matches was alternated in order to give competitors time to recover between rounds. The first bout to begin the men’s bracket was a match between the Netherlands and France. “The Dutch Destroyer” Jochem Davidse was drawn to face the Frenchman Alain Gaussuin in round one. Even before the opening whistle the gamesmanship began as Alain G attempted to psyche out his opponent by stripping. One of the supporters of the World Alternative Games was snack bar brand Nakd, who had kindly supplied the Games and all competition participants with free Nakd bars. It appeared to the other competitors, spectators, referee and chief marshal that Alain G had taken the name of the bar literally.
Following a verbal warning from the Chief Marshall about the need to wear clothing in his bout Alain G decided to wear some attire but did compete bare-chested. Employing a fencing-style with his jousting, the Frenchman’s pre-game tactics proved to be of no avail as he was the victim of a 4-0 loss at the hands of the “Dutch Destroyer.”
The last qualifier in the women’s bracket saw England’s Hannah “The Spoon” Timms defeat Lauren Price from Wales 6-4 in a highly competitive bout. By virtue of the local competitor’s superior points score in defeat, she would go on to qualify for the semi-finals as the best loser.
The men’s qualifier matches continued with Glen “Fidgety Finger” Riggs taking on Llanwrtyd Wells’ Andrew Parr. The match was a hard fought affair and resulted in a 4-3 victory for the mystery man Glen Riggs. The man known as “Mr. Big” Philip Large took on local athlete Tony “Poke” Egan in the next match, and despite the crowd cheering for “Poke” to prod his way to victory, it was not to be as he was on the losing end of a very quick 7-0 scoreline.
The women’s semi-finals got underway with “Dame” Julia from the Principality of Hutt River taking on Dutch sensation “Dani Banana.” After a close first-round with the score at 2-1 in Dani’s favor it wasn’t until the second-round that she really came into her own and took a 6-1 victory with four single point prods landing on “Dame” Julia.
The second semi-final was a rematch from the first-round as Lauren Price had qualified as a best-scoring-loser in the prelims. After two-rounds of combat it appeared that Hannah “The Spoon” Timms was cruising to an easy victory, but in round three the local competitor received a boost with the support of the crowd and scored a peppering flurry of shots to record a 7-3 win against the Winchester-based jouster. This meant that the women’s final would be a Dutch-Welsh contest between Danitsja Kallendorf and Lauren Price.
The men’s semi-finals saw Amsterdam’s premiere finger jouster, Jochem Davidse, play the “Fidgety Finger of Glen Riggs” in a hotly anticipated match-up. The display of power, speed and tactics from the two heavyweight contenders saw the players fighting for big points, but with neither man able to get a big scoring shot on the other. After two rounds The Dutch Destroyer was ahead by three-points, before Riggs could respond. However by the time the final whistle had blown it was Jochem’s arm that was raised in victory as he would be advancing to the final with a 3-1 win.
The second men’s semi-final pitted Llanwrtyd’s Andrew Parr against Coventry’s Philip Large. The big match pressure seemed to affect Parr more than Large and the match was over almost as soon as it began as England’s “Mr. Big” managed to score six points in the first-round to reach the final where he would face-off against Jochem ‘The Dutch Destroyer’ Davidse!
Before the finals could get underway the bronze medal matches needed to be resolved. The play-off for the women’s bronze medal saw “The Spoon” face-off against Dame Julia in a highly anticipated contest. The contest was a tightly tactical affair with both players showing their finger jousting prowess, with nothing really able to separate the two opponents. With Hannah able to register two points in the early rounds it was enough to seal the victory as the final whistle blew on a battle between two worthy competitors.
In the men’s repechage Glen Riggs and Andrew Parr fought to a 2-2 draw. The grueling contest went the full distance and even with equal support from the spectators neither man could muster the power to strike a winning blow. The crowd, officials and fellow competitors were unanimous in their opinion that both men deserved to receive the bronze medal.
The matches that everyone in Llanwrtyd Wells, and indeed the world, were waiting for got underway were the women’s final on the grand stage that the World Alternative Games 2012 offered. Each competitor was warmly welcomed to the arena and both players psyched themselves up to take on the challenge. With Danitsja Kallendorf showing the strength that had seen her undefeated through the two previous rounds she was able to build-up a lead of five-points after round one. It was shortly into round two that the Dutch sensation Dani Banana hit a body blow for two points to take her match score to seven and win the contest and the title of World Alternative Games 2012 Finger Jousting Champion!
With the thrilling climax of the women’s contest helping the crowd to reach fever pitch the men had a lot to live up to in their match. Entering the arena the Dutchman and Englishman were warmly greeted by the lively crowd. Round one saw both combatants testing each other for weak spots and at the end of the round “Mr. Big” had a narrow lead of one-point. However, in round two the Coventry whirlwind scored two quick leg shots to build his lead to three-points and it seemed that the Dutch Destroyer had no answer to the power of “Mr. Big.” A body blow to Jochem from Philip at the mid-point of the round meant he was one prod or poke away from a landmark victory. With some deft footwork and a burst of power ‘Mr. Big’ Philip Large hit a one-point shot to take the win 6-0 and be crowned the World Alternative Games 2012 Finger Jousting Champion! In winning 6-0 Mr. Big did not concede a single point in any of his matches throughout the tournament and ended with a perfect record.
The World Alternative Games 2012 featured over 50 sports and games during the two weeks of events. Each competitor in the World Alternative Games 2012 received a Corinthian Medal for their participation and sporting endeavors. Karen Perkins of the World Alternative Games said, “Thank you very much to the team from the World Finger Jousting Federation for coming over for the finger jousting tournament. It was a brilliant new event for us and everybody is talking about it and that they are going to practice for next time! Our twinning friends thoroughly enjoyed the whole day and are buzzing from the events. Finger jousting is going to be an excellent addition to our original event calendar and if we can host one each year that would be great fun.” The famous British illustration group Purple Ronnie celebrated the championships with their own finger jousting illustration.
The WFJF’s British Consul Richard Gottfried said, “The World Alternative Games Finger Jousting Championships was truly a great event in the history of the World Finger Jousting Federation. The competitors that played in the tournament really gave it their all and left everything they had in the hallowed finger jousting arena in Bromsgrove Hall. The competitors were all wonderful sportsmen and women and each and every one of them showed great sportsmanship throughout the tournament. Under intense pressure the champions didn’t crumble or crack and showed great nerve and strength to win the title. I would like to congratulate “Mr. Big” Philip Large and Danitsja “Dani Banana” Kallendorf on their victories. I would also like to say well done and thank you to the other competitors for their Corinthian spirit.”
World Alternative Games 2012 Finger Jousting Championships Stats and Facts:
- Players from five countries competed in the event – England, Wales, the Netherlands, France and the Republic of Ireland were represented
- Both final matches were whitewashes
- Philip “Mr. Big” Large won all of his matches without conceding a single point – a 100% perfect record!
- The longest index fingers in the tournament belonged to Alain G from France and eventual men’s champion Philip “Mr. Big” Large who each had a lance length of 11 cm
- The player with the shortest index finger in the competition was Bronze Medalist Hannah “The Spoon” Timms with a digit measuring 8.5 cm
The World Finger Jousting Federation would like to thank the World Alternative Games 2012 for hosting the Finger Jousting Championships and showcasing the sport, Emily Gottfried for refereeing the championships, Jas Kukielka for the use of his tape measure, Cindy Kukielka for photography, Purple Ronnie for the celebratory illustration, each and every competitor who played in the tournament, and the fans in attendance in Llanwrtyd Wells.
The sport of Finger Jousting is governed by the World Finger Jousting Federation. Formed in 2005 in LaGrange, Georgia the Federation is known for its encouragement of healthy competition and exercise, philanthropic nature, and dedicated online community. Against performance enhancing drugs and all forms of cheating inside and outside of the arena, the WFJF has made continuous efforts to make sure that matches are played honorably, and events are a safe environment for the whole family. For more information and details on how to join the World Finger Jousting Federation please visit http://www.fingerjoust.com/
WFJF Media Department