Bossel EM had to be postponed twice due to the pandemic. It was originally planned for May 2020, but was then postponed to 2021 and eventually back to this year. For the organizational team led by Reimer Diercks from Dithmarschen, it was a real test of patience and always a new challenge: competition site permits, rebooking of accommodation, finding catering and much more. In the end, however, everyone is excited when it finally begins.
Boßler from Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands
Today Boßel-EM finally starts and Reimer Diercks makes three crosses. The official starting signal is given with the opening ceremony in Meldorf (Dithmarschen district). In the afternoon there is a parade through the city with all associations: Boßler and fans from Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands arrive. The field is completed by the Frisian Klootschießerverband (FKV) from the Lower Saxony region of Oldenburg / East Frisia. Together with Verband Schleswig-Holsteinischer Boßler (VSHB) they will be fighting for medals in the individual and team ranking for the next three days. There are four different classes on each competition day: female youth, male youth, female and male.
Day 1: It’s all about technology – even with field bosses
The first site of this European Championship is the Kaltenhörner dike in Tetenbüll (North Frisia district). For qualified athletes, the goal of the Feldboßeln is to achieve the greatest possible distance in the fore-area with ten throws. It counts the flight and rolling distance of a 300 gram wooden ball. This means: where one try stops, the next begins. The throwers are free to use the technique.
The Boßlers of Ireland and Lower Saxony throw in a breakaway with a 360-degree arm spin similar to a US softball shot. The Dutch and Italians use a hand throw, roughly comparable to a game of bowling or bowling. Most of the heads of Schleswig-Holstein use a third technique which is very close to the slipping of a stone on water.
Feldboßeln is the home discipline of the Dutch. Therefore, they are among the favorites. But the Irish and Lower Saxony are also very strong here, so an even race is expected. Schleswig-Holstein competes in the race only with opportunities from outside.
Day 2: No misses while rocking
Standboßeln is the parade discipline of two German associations. Medals are usually distributed between FKV and VSHB. Each competitor has three trials, all of which are included in the evaluation. A mistake can quickly cost you victory here. In this discipline, the clear flight distance from the drop point to hitting the ball also matters. It is thrown at the Meldorfer Stadium. Depending on the class, the balls weigh from 375 to 475 grams.
The record holder of the European Championships in the category of standing bosses is an East Frisian
In the Boßlerinnen female classes of both associations, a circular motion is used. You accelerate the ball by rotating it 360 degrees around its longitudinal axis, and then throw it forward. However, there are differences between male starters. Schleswig-Holstein people use the same technology as women. The Oldenburgs and East Frisians, on the other hand, use a jump ramp to propel the ball with 360-degree arm rotation, similar to field bossing. They have also been European champions for many years. 22 years ago, at the European Championships in Schleswig-Holstein, Stefan Albarus set the previous distance record for the European Championships. At the stadium Meldorf, the East Frisian crossed the magic limit of 100 meters in all three attempts and thus became the European champion.
Depending on the wind conditions, you can expect maximum distances of around 85 to 90 meters on Saturday. Mike Plähn from the VSHB host and Sören Bruhn from FKV are the men’s favorites. The bosses from Schleswig-Holstein stand a good chance of winning medals in all four classes.
Day 3: With an iron ball over the main road
The end of this year’s European Championship is a street bowling alley. Here, too, Boßler and Boßlerinnen have ten shots in a row. As with field bossing on day one, flight and ball rolling distance counts. Only this time the throwing takes place not in the meadow, but on the 297 national road from Süderhastedt towards Grossenrade (Dithmarschen district).
The ball is also different: an Irish iron ball is used. It weighs 800 grams and is the size of a billiard ball. The same is true here: where the iron ball lands after a trial, the next trial begins. The winner is the one who covers the greatest distance.
Paving the road is a matter of precision
Irish bosses are particularly strong in this discipline. But other unions have also won individual medals many times in the past. As with field bosses, different techniques are used here. The idea is to keep this little iron ball in the road for as long as possible with each throw with force and precision.
At the end of each individual competition day, there is a major award ceremony where successful bosses receive individual and team medals. On Sunday evening, there will be a joint dinner with all the associations before the journey back home begins.
Next EM 2024 in East Frisia
Everyone involved does not have to wait long for the next European Championship: Frisian Klootschießerverband will be the organizer of the 17th European Championship in two years. The bosses of Schleswig-Holstein can then concentrate solely on sports. They probably won’t be back until 2040.