Trans­for­ma­tion of child­hood tag game gain­ing in­ter­na­tional ground

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

LON­DON — A child­hood game played in school play­grounds the world over, tag has been trans­formed by a Bri­tish en­thu­si­ast into an ex­treme sport, at­tract­ing world ath­letes and a James Bond movie ac­tor.

Fast moves and dodg­ing are essen­tial in a game of “Chase Tag”, the new sport which sees play­ers race around ob­sta­cles try­ing to catch each other.

The idea came to cre­ator Chris­tian De­vaux af­ter play­ing tag with his son, who chal­lenged his dad to find out who was re­ally the best.

“We de­cided to in­tro­duce ob­sta­cles into the gar­den. We had a bin, and some chairs, and a bench,” he said. “Then the ob­sta­cles just grew and grew more com­pli­cated.”

De­vaux’s gar­den game led him to cre­ate Chase Tag in 2015 with its own set of rules.

This month the sport held its sec­ond tour­na­ment with six teams of four play­ers com­pet­ing.

Of­ten used for box­ing matches, the York Hall venue in Lon­don has been clut­tered with ob­sta­cles as the ath­letes take part in the tour­na­ment’s 20-sec­ond matches.

The rapid race fea­tures two play­ers, one tasked with catch­ing the oth­ers in the short time frame. Each catch Casi­noRoyale, gives a team one point, while any­one who es­capes un­caught with their nifty moves gets three points.

While the play­ers are seen con­cen­trat­ing as they leap and dart around the pitch, there’s a light­hearted at­mos­phere.

“It ap­peals to our child­ish side,” said Me­hdi Hadim, a mem­ber of the Black­list team.

“Every­one’s played tag. And the game we play here has placed it at a new ath­letic level.”

Ex­treme sports are de­fined as recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties in­volv­ing a high level of phys­i­cal ex­er­tion.

The first non-Bri­tish team to take part in a Chase Tag com­pe­ti­tion, Black­list brings to­gether four young men from the Paris re­gion.

The team is al­ready skilled at park­our, which sees peo­ple per­form of­ten risky ac­ro­bat­ics mostly in cities.

“We dis­cov­ered it in Jan­uary by watch­ing videos on the in­ter­net,” said 25-year-old Valentin Dubois.

For Sebastien Fou­can, co-founder of park­our in France, Chase Tag “is a very tech­ni­cal type of sport but also very tac­ti­cal. As you move, you re­flect, you think ahead”.

“You also have to an­a­lyze your op­po­nents and act ac­cord­ingly. For ex­am­ple, some­one big goes un­der the ob­sta­cles less of­ten,” said the 43-year-old French ath­lete, who put his skills to the test as a James Bond vil­lain in the film Casino Royale.

With only a few dozen com­peti­tors, the sport is still in its in­fancy but there are al­ready promis­ing signs.

Play­ers in In­dia, Ja­pan and the United States have al­ready shown their en­thu­si­asm, post­ing videos on­line of their own Chase Tag matches.

Every­one’s played tag. And the game we play here has placed it at a new ath­letic level.” Me­hdi Hadim, Black­list mem­ber

AN­TO­NIO BRONIC / REUTERS

Peo­ple prac­tice standup pad­dle­board yoga, or SUP yoga, on the Adri­atic coast in Verudela, Croa­tia, on Mon­day.

GIULIO NAPOLITANO / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Park­our leg­end Sebastien Fou­can, who fea­tured in the James Bond movie is among those who have taken up “Chase Tag”.

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