Go Ahead, Chuck Your Cell: It’s the Annual Phone-Throwing Competition

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We’ve all felt like throwing our phones one point — because of badly designed interfaces, lousy reception, shatter-prone screens or the rage-inducingly awful person we were just talking to. But what if you could hurl your phone as hard as you can and actually be rewarded for it? Welcome to the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships, held each year in Finland.

It’s a fitting locale – the cell-centric country is the homeland of mobile communications pioneer Nokia, whose world headquarters is located 215 miles south of the phone-throwing venue in Savonlinna. This year marks the 13th annual competition, one that’s been going on since 2000 — predating the first modern BlackBerry by two years.

Last weekend dozens of proud phone-chuckers from around the world descended on the small Finnish town to compete and watch a bit of history made. Eighteen-year-old Ere Karjalainen from Finland set a new world record, organizers say, when he chucked an old Nokia phone 332.8 feet (101.46 meters). And to Karjalainen, there was little practice involved. He credited his win to his drinking session the night before – and hey, who hasn’t gotten a bit clumsy with their phones after a long night out?

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However Chris Hughff, a Brit, is the unofficial world record holder, having threw a phone 336 feet at a Belgium competition earlier this year, Engadget reports. It’s a disputed record, though, says Finnish organizer Christine Lund, who called the Belgian competition “unofficial.”

But it’s not all about the simple skill of distance throwing. In fact, in a style mirroring the recently concluded Olympics, there are a number of different trials to engage in, including a “Freestyle” category that grades phone-tossers on the creativity and aesthetics of their throws and a junior competition for those 12 and under. (Although some feel those kids shouldn’t be using a mobile phone, anyway.)

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The irony of the competition’s proximity to Nokia headquarters isn’t lost on organizers. The company has flailed in the wake of smartphone innovations from Apple and Samsung, with sales down 27% in 2011 and greater declines expected this year. Since 2010 the company has slashed a third of its workforce. What Finns wouldn’t want to throw their phones to the pavement in despair?

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