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is a traditional sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...
of the Frisians
The Frisians are a Germanic ethnic group native to the coastal parts of the Netherlands and Germany. They are concentrated in the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen and, in Germany, East Frisia and North Frisia, that was a part of Denmark until 1864. They inhabit an area known as Frisia...
and of the Dutch
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...
is West Frisian
West Frisian is a language spoken mostly in the province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands. West Frisian is the name by which this language is usually known outside the Netherlands, to distinguish it from the closely related Frisian languages of Saterland Frisian and North Frisian,...
for "to leap". It is a fine example of the close relationship between the Frisian and English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...
The sport involves a long pole and a body of water. The pole is between 8 and 13 m long and has a flat round plate at the bottom to prevent it from sinking into the muddy river or canal bottom.
A jump consists of a sprint to the pole (polsstok), jumping and grabbing it, then climbing to the top of the pole while trying to control its forward and lateral movements over a body of water, and finishing by landing on a sand bed opposite to the starting point.
The sport is believed to have originated with farmers who used poles to leap over small water drainage channels to access different plots of land. In East Frisia
East Frisia or Eastern Friesland is a coastal region in the northwest of the German federal state of Lower Saxony....
this sport is known as Pultstock-Jumping. Today the sport is primarily practiced for fun or to entertain tourists, but there still is an official annual National Fierljepping Manifestation
(NFM) in the Netherlands, and championships are contested in six leagues and numerous clubs.
The current overall record holder is Bart Helmholt from Hardegarijp (Friesland). He leaped a distance of 21.26 meters in 2010 during the Burgum games.
The current Dutch record holders by category are:
- Seniors: 21.26 meters, Bart Helmholt, from Hardegarijp, Friesland (5 August 2010, Burgum)
- Juniors: 20.41 meters, Jaco de Groot, from Kamerik
Kamerik is a town in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is a part of the municipality of Woerden, and lies about 3 km north of Woerden.In 2001, the town of Kamerik had 2421 inhabitants. The built-up area of the town was 0.43 km², and contained 877 residences...
, Utrecht (9 August 2006, Linschoten)
- Boys: 18.88 meters, Wilco van Amerongen from Benschop
Benschop is a town in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is a part of the municipality of Lopik, and lies about 4 km west of IJsselstein. Benschop is an extremely long village: apart from a relatively compact town centre, it consists of a long ribbon of houses on both sides of the...
, Utrecht (1 August 2009, Linschoten)
- Ladies: 16.34 meters, Dymphie van Rooijen from IJsselstein
IJsselstein is a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of Utrecht. IJsselstein received city rights in 1331. IJsselstein owes its name to the river Hollandse IJssel which flows through the city....
, Utrecht (1 July 2009, Vlist)
Fierljeppen throughout the world
International tourists who have visited Friesland and who have observed this sport have helped to spread its popularity throughout the globe. Competitions in other locales now take place, albeit at a less competitive level due to smaller numbers of athletes and the lack of suitable locations.
Many Americans were first introduced to the sport, here referred to as "ditch-vaulting", on Season 12 of The Amazing Race
The Amazing Race is a reality television game show in which teams of two people, who have some form of a preexisting personal relationship, race around the world in competition with other teams...