LONDON (Reuters) – Standing in a rain soaked English village, more than 200 competitors armed with horse chestnuts dangling from shoelaces faced off for the World Conker Championship.
The quintessential British school playground pastime involves competitors taking it in turns to launch their conkers in a bid to break those of their opponents. Victory can also be claimed if you force your opponent’s shoelace to become knotted three times.
“Being steady of hand, steady of mind and able to withstand the cold and the wet is also very important,” said competitor Mina Arsanious, who was joined in the international field by rivals from Australia and the United States.
Competitors were not allowed to bring their own conkers from home, therefore ruling out age-old sneaky hardening tactics such as soaking them in vinegar, leaving them in the dark for a year or putting them in the oven.
Despite her training restricted to just 20 minutes on the eve of the event, Karen Holloway, 32, from the English city of Derby was declared the overall champion.
Writing by Patrick Johnston; Editing by Peter Graff