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Monday, July 9, 2012

Quidditch nerds target Games to promote their sport

Quidditch players riding broomsticks tagged on to the Olympics on Monday, acknowledging the game adapted from the Harry Potter series was for nerds but arguing that it was a legitimate sport worthy of being in the Olympics.

Five teams of quidditch players from Britain, the United States, Canada, France and Australia, flew into England for the sport's first major international tournament and to hold an exhibition match as the Olympic torch passed through Oxford, 95 kms north-west of London.

The sport of ground quidditch was adapted in 2005 by US students at Middlebury College in Vermont from the flying broomstick game in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels.

Since then, the sport has spread to 25 countries and has some 700 teams, mainly based in the United States and largely at colleges and universities.

Alex Benepe, one of the sport's founders, set up the New York-based non-profit International Quidditch Association in 2007 as players started to take the game more seriously and quidditch now boasts a rule book and a World Cup.

He said players happily admitted they were nerds, but sporty nerds, and they wanted to prove this was now a legitimate sport - and even aim for the Olympics in the future.

"Most people who play are nerds but we have a lot of jocks or athletes playing this sport as well, some of whom have never even read the Harry Potter books," Benepe, dressed in a three-piece suit and top hat, said.

"We thought it would be a great time to piggy-back off the Olympics, being held in the home country of Harry Potter, and show people this is an exciting sport. There are a lot more ridiculous sports in the Olympics than quidditch."

The International Quidditch Association describes itself as a magical, non-profit body "dedicated to promoting the sport of quidditch and inspiring young people to lead physically active and socially engaged lives".

Players said they were attracted to the sport as it drew in like-minded people who loved reading but also sport.

"Quidditch has helped athletes who had to be in closet about their nerdiness," said Benepe.

 

 

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Tags:  quidditch  olympics  london  britain  us  canada  france  australia  





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