MUNGIA, Spain, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Women lifted heavy stones up to their shoulders and swung axes during the Women’s Championship of Herri-Kirolak – or Basque sports – as a new generation aims to change attitudes in the traditionally male-dominated sport.
The town square in Mungia in northern Spain was packed with spectators to cheer on the female competitors, who are still a relatively unusual sight in the events.
Basque sports – Herri-Korolak in the Basque language – showcase displays of strength and stamina associated with the heavy manual labour traditionally associated with rural life in the Basque Country, a region of northern Spain that borders France.
“Herri-Kirolak originate with the work of the farmhouse. In the farmhouse, men, women, girls, boys, grandfathers and grandmothers all worked. It didn’t matter about age or gender. But in competitions it was always men,” said reigning stone-lifting champion Karmele Gisasola, whose father was a stone lifter.