Porthleven To Get Demonstration Olympic Event For 2012
The whole of South West Cornwall is buzzing after the announcement that traditional Cornish Pilot Gig racing is to take place as a demonstration Olympic event alongside the rowing programme for London 2012 and that the competition is to be based in Porthleven. These beautifully crafted boats were originally used to take pilots out to anchored sailing ships with the first to arrive getting the job which is where the tradition of racing started.
Many sports hold demonstrations around the games and in order to be considered they must take place on at least 4 continents and be equally accessible to all cultures. thanks to the emigration of Cornish miners spreading their expertise across the globe there are gig racing clubs in Australia, South America, USA and even a few in unexpected locations such as the Middle East where Cornish Experts in oil lighting were brought in at the turn of the century.
One of the features of the Beijing games was China’s targeting of minority sports such as shooting and archery to maximise their medal tally and the success of this tactic has seen a long list of countries register for the event as gig racing is seen as having a very good chance of inclusion at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro games. The first indication we had was a request from the Federation of Olympic Oarsmen of Lithuania to book accommodation for a party of 32 people for the whole of July 2012 together with a request for information about slipways and storage and within the last week we have spoken to several more organisations from different countries.
Video Shows Russian Crew Practice
This video showing an unrecognised gig crew off Porthleven has been baffling the locals for several months but can now be revealed as a crack advance team of Russian athletes who launched before dawn from a smugglers cove near mullion and rowed across the bay to check out potential course routes.
Innovative 'Total Crew Weight' Rule May Increase Chances of Success
In order to stand out amongst the sports bidding for Olympic inclusion, the Gigs And Games association have proposed that there be a maximum total crew weight of 600kg this being roughly equivalent to six 15 stone Cornish lads and a navigator who is often a boy or girl to reduce the mass of the boat and crew. First task for the British team has been to find the lightest person possible to steer the boat.
Interest in the sport amongst city financiers holidaying at Rock has seen them push this to extremes by recruiting ultra light people for the tiller and it turns out that NatWest bank managers have the smallest cox in the country.
The theory is to allow nations of smaller people to compete on a more even basis by designing boats with extra crew to compete against the heavyweights but there is already controversy with Hong Kong fielding a team of squat but muscular dragon boat specialist who have sawn off their oars and paddle with five men on each side of the gig.
The nation facing most criticism however is once again the Chinese who are said to be designing a gig crewed by 12 dwarfs from the Pran Kon region of Szechuan renowned for their upper body strength though availability of some of these unique athletes may be hampered by the clash with the festival of sevens on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month when they are heavily involved in stage shows with the traditional white snake queen and The Nolan Sisters
Olympic Festival to Include More Cornish Minority Sports
Specialist teams from across the county will be competing against guests from around the world in a series of Cornish sports. Tickets will soon be available for the following: