Horseshoe pitchers compete for gold

Horseshoe pitchers compete for gold
Over 100 contestants between the ages of five and 85 took part in the 2013 Swedish horseshoe-pitching championships in Emmaboda, southern Sweden.

A total of 109 people competed for gold in six leagues on Saturday.

“It’s a sport for all ages,” Lars-Åke Brincner, president of the Swedish Horseshoe Pitching Society (Svenska Hästkokastarförbundet), told the TT news agency.

The contestants take alternating turns tossing a total of five horseshoes at stakes in the ground from a distance of six metres. The aim is to get as close to the stakes as possible.

Horseshoe pitching came to Sweden in 1993. A man named P.O Hansson had visited Poland with three colleagues the year before. They went to a horseshoe-pitching contest there and decided to bring the sport to Sweden.

In 1993, Calrskrona Hsc – Sweden’s first horseshoe-pitching team – was formed. Soon after, 23 teams participated in Sweden’s very first official horseshoe-pitching competition.

The interest grew quickly and by 1994 the first national championships were arranged in Växjö, with ice hockey legend Börje Salming competing for Carlskrona Hsc.

Swedish horseshoe-pitching enthusiasts have made several attempts at entering the Guiness Book of Records, with one Swede – Kalle “the knife” Gyllenfjell – succeeding back in 1996.

Gyllenfjell threw 825 horseshoes in eight minutes and 15 seconds and hit the stake 528 times.

Most horseshoe-pitching clubs are in south east Sweden, but the sport is expanding. A new club recently opened on the Baltic island of Gotland.

In addition to separate men’s and women’s tournaments in the Swedish championships, there is also a mixed tournament, where both men and women compete.

There are also rounds of doubles and junior and “minior” tournaments for the younger horseshoe-pitching enthusiasts.

Lisbeth Nygaard-Karlsson from Tingsryd, south Sweden won the women’s tournament. In the men’s division, Jabir Malghouth of Växjö, south Sweden took home the gold.

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