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Tug-Of-War Equipment


There is no specific time and place to pinpoint the origin of tug of war. The contest of pulling a rope originates from ancient ceremonies and cults, which are found all over the world, such as in Egypt, Burma, India, Borneo, Japan, Korea, Hawaii and South America. The ancient tug of war was performed in various styles. In Afghanistan, teams used a wooden stake instead of a rope to pull. In Korea, children clasped their arms around each other’s waists to form a living tug of war chain. Tug of War was not only a team sport. In several countries a man to man version of tug of war existed. The Canadian Eskimos still have a tug of war contest known as ‘arsaaraq’. It’s a tug of war contest with the pullers sitting on the ground, using a short rope. The one who pulls his opponent over from his seated position is the winner.

Later tug of war became a pure contest of physical strength. In Greece, the cradle of the ancient Olympic Games, tug of war sport around 500 BC was practised by athletes either as a competitive sport or as an exercise in the physical training for other sports. In Western Europe evidence of tug of war is found in the year 1000 AD, in the stories of the heroic champions of Scandinavia and Germany, who participated in the so called ‘kräftige spiele’ (power games). The tug of war sport featured at the courts of the Chinese Emperors, as well as in Mongolia and Turkey. In the 15 was a popular contest in tournaments in the French Chateaux and in Competitions in the UK.th Century tug of war.

Players & Equipment

Each Tug of War team consists of 8 members, all of whom cooperate to pull the rope. Despite looking like quite a simple sport, there is some technicality to it, with team members utilising a rhythm to help pull the rope in an effective way. This is done with the help of a ‘driver’, who is not a member of the team but is in effect like a coach and they give orders of when to pull and when to rest from the side-lines.

The rope is the most important piece of equipment and this should be approximately 11 cm in circumference and should be at least 33.5m long with plain, whipped ends. Other pieces of equipment that participants may use include specialist boots, back, elbow and knee supports as well as belts to support the back.


Each team has a mark on their end of the rope 4m from the centre. The team who is pulled by the opposition towards the centre whose mark goes over the centre line is declared the loser. With matches often being the best of three, it is the that successfully wins two out of three pulls that is declared the winner.

  • Each team in a Tug of War competition consists of eight people.
  • There are various weight classifications in Tug of War, and the mass of the eight people combined must not weigh more than that determined by the category that they are placed in.
  • The rope used should be of a circumference of approximately 11 cm and should be marked in the middle with a centre line as well as two marks that should be placed 4m from the centre line.
  • At the start of the pull, the centre line of the rope should be immediately above line marked on the ground.
  • Both teams pull the rope, the winner being the team who manage to pull the mark on the rope closest to their opponents over the centre line.
  • The rope must be pulled underarm and nobody’s elbow must go below the knee, otherwise a foul will be called.
  • Matches are often a best of three pull, the winner winning two out of the three pulls.


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