Sport in the UK

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The Highland Games

Scottish Highland Games, at which sports (including tossing the caber, putting the weight and throwing the hammer), dancing and piping competitions take place, attract large numbers of spectators from all over the world.

These meetings are held every year in different places in the Scottish Highlands. They include the clans led by their pipers, dressed in their kilts, tartan plaids, and plumed bonnets, who march round the arena.

The features common to Highland Games are bagpipe and High­land dancing competitions and the performance of heavy athletic events — some of which, such as tossing the caber, are Highland in ori­gin. All competitors wear Highland dress, as do most of the judges. The games take place in a large roped-off arena. Several events take place at the same time: pipers and dancers perform on a platform; athletes toss the caber, put the weight, throw the hammer, and wrestle. There is also a competition for the best-dressed Highlander.

Highland dancing is performed to bagpipe music, by men and women, such as the Sword Dance and the Reel.

No one knows exactly when the men of the Highlands first gathered to wrestle, toss cabers, throw hammers, put weights, dance and play music. The Games reflected the tough life of the early Scots. Muscle-power was their means of livelihood — handling timber, lifting rocks to build houses, hunting. From such activities have developed the contests of tossing the caber, putting the weight and throwing the hammer. Tossing the caber originated among woodmen who wanted to cast their logs into the deepest part of a river. Tossing the caber is not a question of who can throw it farthest. For a perfect throw the caber must land in the 12-o'clock position after be­ing thrown in a vertical semicircle. The caber is a very heavy and long log

Conker Contest and British Marbles Championship

Every year, usually on the Wednesday nearest to 20th October, about a hundred competitors gather to take part in the annual conker competition in a chosen place. The conkers are collected by children from an avenue of chestnut trees. The conkers are carefully examined and numbered on their flat sides, then bored and threaded on nylon cord. Each competitor is allowed an agreed number of "strikes", and a referee is present to see fair play. There are prizes for winners and runners-up. The contest usually starts at about 7 p. m.

It is said that in Elizabethan times two suitors for a village beauty settled the matter by means of a marbles contest. What is now the Marble Championship is believed to be a survival of that contest. The game of marbles dates back to Roman times. Teams of six compete on a circular, sanded rink. Forty-nine marbles are placed in the centre of the rink, and the players try to knock out4 as many as possible with their marble. The marble is rested on the index finger and flicked5 with the thumb. The two highest individual scores battle for the champion­ship with only thirteen marbles on the rink. Similar contests are now held in some other English-speaking countries.


The well-known sporting events

The Boat Race: (between Oxford and Cambridge universities), on the River Thames

in London at Easter. The course is over seven kilometres. Oxford have won 64

times, Cambridge 69 times.

The Wimbledon Tennis Tournament: in July, at Wimbledon, south London, regarded

by many tennis players as the most important championship to win. There is great

public interest in the tournament. Many tennis fans queue all night outside the

grounds in order to get tickets for the finals.

The Open Golf Championship: golf was invented by the Scots, and its headquarters

Реферат опубликован: 27/06/2007