Supporting and promoting international sport worldwide

Spotlight on Tug of War

Tug of War is a sport where two teams test their strength against each other by pulling on opposite ends of a rope. The objective is to pull the rope a certain distance in one direction until a specific marker has been reached. The history of tug of war is not clear, but the sport was practiced in nations like ancient Egypt, Greece, India and China. According to historians, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang (Tang Dynasty) was a big admirer of tug of war and would construct elaborate events with over 500 participants at either end of the rope. The rope would be over 160 metres in length and have shorter ropes attached. In ancient Greece tug of war was sometimes performed without a rope, with participants holding hands. This format would have been much harder to perform. In India evidence was found that the game was played as early as the 1100s.   

As a sport it forms part of the World Games but is not part of the Olympic Games. It was part of the Olympic program between 1900 and 1920. It features in almost every country in the world, with several nations having their own national governing body. Each of these governing bodies will be affiliated to the Tug of War International Federation (TWIF), the world governing body. TWIF currently has over 70 members around the world, an indication of the popularity of the sport. The mission of TWIF is to provide professional governance for the sport to continue to grow and to add to the membership. The federation also ensures that the integrity of the sport follows through to all its members. Each year there is a World Championship that TWIF will oversee, with national competitions managed by their own federations. TWIF is based in Jellum, The Netherlands.

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