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Welly Wanging Rules

The rules of welly wanging are fairly straightforward. Here is the original set of rules for welly wanging as listed on the Upperthong website and on the Wellie Wanging Wikipedia entry:

  1. Welly wanging is a sport open to all people irrespective of age, sex, race, creed, religion, nationality and colour. And people from Lancashire.
  2. The sport shall be a civilised affair. Fair play, good humour and good manners shall be exhibited at all times.
  3. No umpire shall be needed. A player’s word and their honour shall be sufficient.
  4. Distances shall be measured in yards, feet and inches. None of this European nonsense.
  5. The standard welly shall be the Dunlop green, size 9, non steel toe-cap. Competitors shall select whether they use left or right welly.
  6. No tampering with the welly shall be allowed. Factory finish only. No silicone polish is to be applied.
  7. A maximum run-up of 42 paces shall be allowed. This distance was chosen in memory of Douglas Adams, himself a proponent of the sport.
  8. The run-up shall end with a straight line of 10 feet in length, that being the width of a standard Yorkshire gate.
  9. The welly shall land within the area defined by the straight lines between the Upperthong Gala field and Holme Moss television mast on one side, and on the other by the line between the field and Longley Farm windmill. This playing area is known as the ‘Thong’.
  10. There shall be four categories: Men’s and Women’s, and Boys and Girls (u-14’s).
  11. The welly shall be projected using any action of the arm or foot for the respective categories.
  12. The use of wind assistance is allowed and, indeed, encouraged. Waiting for a suitable gust, however, is limited to one minute. No artificial or man-made wind is to be used.
  13. The winners of the two adult categories at the World Championships shall receive a trophy and respect from all Welly Wangers across the world. Winners of the Children’s category shall receive a crisp five-pound note. They can spend this on anything they like.

Some other rules and useful welly wanging setup tips can be found on the Welly Wanging homepage. These rules are only guidelines to ensure the proceedings are both fun and fair; feel free to adapt them as you see fit. However, remember to ensure the designated welly wanging area is safe and not too slippery as serious injuries can occur in muddy fields!

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Why Welly Wang?

Why is it called ‘welly wanging’/’wellie wanging’ and why should I wang my wellies anyway?

Well, for starters, it’s great fun. Most people appreciate seeing large PVC boots spin through the country air and land with a muddy splat 50 yards away… and most people who see this for the first time, whether they are wearing old worn-out wellies or expensive designer fashion wellies, want to pull off their own pair and have a go. It doesn’t matter whether you are young or old – whether you are very athletic or a couch potato – this kind of competitive fun grips us all. But it’s not just fun…

Welly wanging is essentially Olympic javelin throwing without the risk of an incident à la Tero Pitkämäki, which means it is safe and easily accesible for all ages and abilities, yet provides an excellent opportunity for some serious competitiveness for those who like a challenge. Boot-throwing has been around for a long time in various European countries and places like Taihape in New Zealand, but the village of Upperthong in England managed to catch the imagination of those in the UK and other countries with their quinissentially British approach to the sport: yes, it is fun and even a bit funny, but sport is sport and welly wanging can be a seriously competitve affair!

As for the name: who knows why the British decided to adopt the word ‘wang’ to mean ‘throw’, but the catchy alliteration for this sport alone is reason enough.