VIDEO: Joust now there’s some gripping sport!

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It’s joust great – that’s why Luton couple Richard and Emily Gottfried go to the World Alternative Games (WAG) each year.

The duo are back from Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales where they ran the Finger Jousting Championships as part of WAG, writes Steve Sims.

Back in 2006, Richard was looking for some new sports to try out and came across finger jousting and minigolf, both of which he’s continued to compete in.

Finger jousting is a poking game of strength and skill and sees two players lock hands with their right index finger pointed at their opponent and using it to score points. A match is won by achieving six-points, with a prod to the arm or legs worth one point, a body shot is two-points and a head shot scores three points.

Richard said: “With the World Finger Jousting Federation being based in the USA and me being the UK’s most active player I’ve helped bring the sport to a wider audience by organising the World Finger Jousting Championships.

“This year, as in 2012, the field was a truly international mix, with competitors hailing from Wales, England, Portugal, Russia and New Zealand. With the men’s and women’s titles heading to Russia and Portugal.”

As well as officiating Richard likes to compete too, but unfortunately he was unable to defend the egg throwing title he won in the 2012 World Alternative Games due to a back injury suffered by his team-mate Jas Kukielka.

Instead he went solo and entered the First-Timers Open Tournament of the World of Grip.

He explained: “The World of Grip is a series of feats of strength and hand-power. Titles have been contested in organised events such as this since the World Card-Tearing Championships was staged in France in 1910.

“I finished in ninth place overall, picking up a fifth place finish in the first event – the Half a Penny Hold – where you lift and hold a weight by half a penny-sized disc using only your thumb and forefinger. I managed to hold 10kg for six seconds.”

He added: “It’s amazing that was has become one of the biggest multi-sport events in the world takes place in Britain’s smallest town. In the first-edition of the Games there were over 2,000 people who travelled to take part in and watch over 35 events, and this year there were 60-plus events taking place over 17 days. Some were physically demanding contests – like Bog Snorkelling and Wife Carrying – and will take months and years to master, while other events allow people to turn-up on the day and have a go at.

“Not everyone will be able to win a medal at the Commonwealth or Olympic Games in their life, but at the World Alternative Games the Corinthian Spirit of taking part being more important than the winning means that people of all ages and backgrounds can take part in something new or different.”

> Click on the video to see Richard taking part in finger jousting.

It shows ‘Squire Richard’ versus his arch-nemesis ‘Sir Myles of Hampshire’ in a match held in Luton back in 2007

Richard explained: “We’re using the British Isles foot-stance during play i.e. one foot rooted to the spot. The Americans use a much more wild style with lots of movement. During the World Alternative Games players were allowed to move their feet, but had to remain in a designated arena.”