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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Monday, 24 September, 2001, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Iain skims his way to success
Stone skimming
The championship was held just south of Oban
An Australian has been crowned the winner at the unique World Stone Skimming Championships.

The competition, held for the last few years at Easdale, an island just south of Oban on Scotland's west coast, attracted competitors from 10 countries as well as a strong home contingent.

The home skimmers did well, but the honours in the senior men's category went to Iain MacGregor who, despite his Scottish sounding name, is an Australian.

Iain MacGregor
Iain MacGregor: World champion

He said: "I notice that people with the name Iain have a distinct advantage in this competition. All the winners apart from one have been called Iain, so maybe there's a bias in there somewhere."

England threw their way to victories in two events and Scotland has a new world champ in the junior category.

Easdale is the perfect location for the championship because it is mostly made of slate and there is a ready supply of suitable stones.

The rules devised for the Easdale Island World Stone Skimming Championships are simple:

  • The stone's diameter shall not exceed 3in at any point

  • The stone must have been formed naturally

  • The stone must bounce three times before sinking

  • The stone that skims the farthest within the marked lane wins, irrespective of the number of bounces

  • Each competitor gets five attempts, with the longest skim counting.

The simplicity of the competition's rules are thought to be contributing to its growing popularity.

Donald Melville
Donald Melville: Competition has wide appeal

Donald Melville, the competition co-ordinator, said: "Everybody thinks they can do it. It takes people back years. Three people came up to me today and said this takes me back to my youth.

"I think people have done it for years-and-years from when they were kids up to adults, everyone likes to wander along the shore and if they see a stone that looks like it could be a good skimmer they'll have a go."

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BBC Scotland's Colin Wight reports
"Competitors came from over 10 different countries"
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