Jousting at Arundel

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 "knight" spliters a lance during jousting this week at Arundel Castle © Goldfish Photographic

“knight” splinters a lance during jousting this week at Arundel Castle © Goldfish Photographic

A little while ago, I wrote that jousting was being proposed as an Olympic sport.

The popularity of jousting is shown by the fact that, this week at Arundel Castle in Sussex, there is the 9th annual Jousting and Medieval Tournament Week.

An international affair, France, Poland, Norway and even Australia are represented as well as England.

But if it becomes an Olympic sport will fully armour need to be worn? I wouldn’t fancy wearing all that if it were to be held next week in the heat of Brazil. What can be clearly shown is that there is interest. Arundel castle attracts tens of thousands of people along each year as do other tournaments whether they be a bit more serious like this one or just as a re-enactment event like many castles put on during the summer months.

At Arundel the tournament, one of the largest in the world, continues until Sunday with competitions on each day.  It is also one of the longest tournaments in terms of time. And this year, they have the first female “knight,” (what do you call a joust participant? Surely not a jouster! It would lead to too many music-hall type jokes) Marie Baron, representing, as the organisers put it, the “Kingdom of France.”

At the midway stage, the participants are closely bunched so any of them could win the accolade of champion team, champion , most chivalrous “jouster”  and best skill at-arms come Sunday afternoon. By that time, holidaymakers and those seeking a day out will have probably increased the number of visitors that the castle had for last year’s tournament.

The question remains though. Is this a sport or just a visitor attraction?

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