One of Malta’s most hilarious competitions takes place this weekend in St Julian’s.
In the traditional ‘gostra’, a game dating back to the Middle Ages, young men, women and children have to scrabble their way to the top of a very greasy pole.
If they manage the tricky feat, they need to then grab one of the flags to claim their hard-won prize.
The comical sight of contestants slithering to victory happens every summer in St Paul’s Bay, Msida, Xlendi, Marsalforn and of course at Spinola Bay.
The event is considered one of the highlights of the St Julian’s festa on Saturday and Sunday.
But whether they win or lose, the daring pole runners all ultimately end up in the water.
Carden Mizzi, who has been taking part in the competition for 10 years, said that victory was rewarded with ‘trophies and a few bruises’.
He told 89.7 Bay: ‘It is hard, depending on your run.
‘If you’re afraid from the first few steps, you’d better jump off.’
Fellow competitor Ivan Bartoli said: ‘While I stand there right before I go up, I have a bad feeling in my gut that something might go wrong but the adrenaline rush overcomes that bad feeling, which pushes me to go.’
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