Traditional Cotswold ‘shin-kicking’ competition saved by council funding

Two people taking part in a previous Cotswold Olympicks event. Credit: BPM Media

A £5,000 grant has saved a centuries old Cotswold ‘shin-kicking’ tradition from dying out.

The funding, provided by Gloucestershire County Council, will allow organisers to stage a so-called Shin Kicking World Championship in 2022.

Supporters say such events will help market towns in the area recover from the impact of the pandemic.

But critics - including former UK Sports Minister Richard Caborn - believe the content is potentially dangerous.

The aim of the game is to kick an opponent in the shins while holding their shoulders, with a winner being crowned when a rival is knocked to the floor.

The event - dubbed the Cotswold Olimpicks - is run by volunteers.

Andy Norton, who is chairman of the Robert Dover’s Games Society, said the grant money would cover a “multitude of costs”.

"We are extremely grateful for the help of Gloucestershire Council, which means we can feel confident the 2022 Cotswold Olimpicks will be a memorable day for our local community, as well as the hundreds of visitors we expect from further afield," he said.

In addition to shin-kicking, there will be caber tossing, hammer throwing and shot putting.

There will also be a Championship of the Hill, which is a mix of relays involving wheelbarrows, dustbins and hay bales.

Councillor Lyndon Stowe, cabinet member with responsibilities for finance and change, said: “Organisers of the Cotswold Olimpick Games have hosted successful events for many years which helps to bring tourists into the county, and 2022 edition is set to be the best yet.

“The funding we have provided will help pay the operational costs in staging the event, and meet the shortfall of funding caused by the pandemic.

"There will be many things for families to enjoy and participate in. The small number of people that take part in shin kicking should ensure they are aware of the risks involved before taking part."