With food you can also play: the Olive Bone Launch of Cieza


The Murcian town of Cieza is celebrating the patron saint festivities in honor of San Bartolomé, and among the most anticipated activities the Olive Bone Launch has returned. A competition that was born as a joke between friends but that has already been around the world, showing that, sometimes, food is also played. An excuse to enjoy the cezanas olives and, above all, have a good time.

It is an event that in its 23 editions has grown from mere curiosity to a great event capable of attracting hundreds of participants and spectators, and which has led to the promotion of the peculiar sport throughout the world, even following the Olympic championships. The last edition has once again been a success but its future is uncertain due to the lack of funding aid.

The mollar olive from Cieza, a healthy aperitif and an excuse to have fun

The rules of this peculiar sport are simple, but there is an essential condition: the pits of the olives must be of the mollar variety, the traditional one from Cieza. This olive is highly valued as a table product thanks to its fleshy pulp and the fact that it comes off easily from the pit. It is the undisputed star of snacks and appetizers, and a very healthy ingredient with which to enrich salads and other dishes.

And for more than two decades it has also become material to have fun, as the creators of the curious competition say. The Olive Bone Launch was born by chance, in a conversation between friends, when Mariano Marín Ato and José María Martínez Villa came up with the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčorganizing the first contest by speculating on the fly.

Why olive pits? Because it is a typical quality Cieza product, and because the peach pits are not too practical to throw with the mouth. Since 1995, 23 editions of the championship have been held, with parallel activities that have led them to promote the activity and the olive for other Spanish festivals and all over the world, also taking advantage of the Olympic Games.

All you need are certain olives, a mark on the ground and enough space for an unhindered launch. The participant must eat the olive to leave the bone clean and throw it with his mouth without exceeding the mark fixed on the ground, using the technique that he considers most convenient. Participating is free but there is a maximum number of participants in both the absolute and children's categories, since more participants attend each year.

This year the champion has been Javier Piñera with a mark of 22.39 meters, thus maintaining the current Cieza record held by Pedro Ramos with a distance of 25.08 meters. In each edition the media interest and the confluence of the public have increased, reaching simialar championships in other towns, such as Elche.

Unfortunately, the organizers of the Association of Friends of the Oliveras have warned that they will not be able to continue in the near future if they do not receive more aid from public institutions. The funding cuts have led them to rely almost exclusively on their personal initiative, something already unsustainable given the magnitude of the event.

It would be a shame if an activity that is already a hallmark was lost due to the lack of interest of the City Council and the inability to reach an agreement. It is one of the most anticipated events of the holidays and a simple but effective way to promote Cieza and its great products. Does anyone dare to organize an olive bone toss game at home?

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