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Balearic Islands slingshot championship to be held in Formentera

campionattirbasetja 17102013Today in press conference, the Formentera Island Council's councilor of Sport and Community Involvement, Sergio Jiménez, together with the president of the Federació Balear de Tir amb bassetja (slingshot), Pep Ribas, presented the schedule for the Balearic Islands Tir amb Bassetja Championship.

The Federated Balearic Islands Individual Tir amb Bassetja Championship will be composed of three categories: men's, women's and children's. Tir amb bassetja is a sport that is traditional in the Balearics, in which stones are launched by a sling at a wooden target (20cm x 20cm).

Participants in each category must shoot from two distances: one short (15 steps, applied all 3 categories) and one long (30 steps for women's and children's/45 steps for men's). The competitor with the highest score is named winner. At the centre of the target is a 50cm iron circle which, if struck, is worth double points.

The competition will include roughly 50 people; some of them participants, others delegates and judges. All participants will be athletes from Mallorca, Menorca and Eivissa that were previously classified for the event. Tir amb bassetja has been officially recognised as a sport in the Balearics for more than 30 years.

If the Mediterranean has been the epicentre of tir amb bassetja practise for thousands of years, the sport was once common in many other parts of the world. First in pre-historical times as a hunting technique, tir amb bassetja was later employed for defence in wars and the practise was carried on by shepherds in their leisure time.

It is written in local Balearic history that the Carthaginian general Hannibal (300 B.C.E.) came to the islands to capture our best bassetja shooters to fight alongside him against the Romans. When Carthage was defeated, Rome maintained the practise, sequestering warriors for use in the different bellicose conflicts of the time.

Being one of the longest-standing traditions in local sport, Formentera's Office of Sport wishes to promote these kinds of competitions in Formentera with a mind toward reintroducing the practise at a local level, starting with school competitions. The Eivissa/Formentera tir amb bassetja delegation has committed to organising events at Formentera schools and thus facilitating and encouraging their practise. The only tir amb bassetja competitions organised at present are for local holidays and the Olimpiada Pagesa.

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