Competitive Gravedigging Is a Real Thing in Europe


Looking to, uh, undertake a new sport? Consider competitive grave-digging. Last Friday, the Associated Press reports that Hungary held its first national grave-digging competition in Debrecen, the country’s second-largest city after Budapest. The winners will go on to compete in a regional championship held in Slovakia later this year.

The bizarre event came courtesy of the Hungarian Association of Cemetery Maintainers and Operators. Organizer Iren Kari told the Associated Press that the organization hopes the contest will bring awareness and respect for the work gravediggers do. Kari told the outlet that it's difficult to find young people who are interested in manual labor, and willing to replace retiring diggers. Plus, the increasing ubiquity of cremations threatens the job’s very existence. But as the BBC points out, gravediggers are as necessary as ever, as crowded cemeteries can’t accommodate mechanical diggers.

Eighteen two-man teams competed in the event, and had to use shovels, rakes, axes, and pickaxes to dig regulation-size graves that were 2 feet, 7 inches wide, 6 feet, 6 inches long, and 5 feet, 3 inches deep. Diggers were judged on speed and style (i.e., how good the finished grave mounds look). The winners, Debrecen locals Laszlo Toth and Janos Racz, reportedly buried their competition in under 34 minutes.

According to Reuters, Toth and Racz will compete against gravediggers from Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic in the international tournament. Check out the contestants' skills in the above video, courtesy of RT News.

[h/t Associated Press]

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