Long distance disconnections at phone-tossing contest

  • 2002-08-29

Petri Valta of Finland bested over 90 contestants from seven countries Aug. 24 when he hurled a Nokia 5510 handset over 66 meters, setting a new world record at the World Championship of Mobile Phone Throwing.

"I was just thinking about throwing it as far as possible, and it was easy to throw it, because it wasn't my own phone," Valta said after lobbing the handset exactly 66.72 meters.

Contrary to the concerns of many mobile users, Valta disregarded all thoughts of busy lines, poor signals and failing batteries when building up mental toughness for the meet, instead focussed solely on trajectory.

The 31-year-old dairy worker from the town of Lapinlahti in central Finland, prepared for months for the event by lifting weights and playing a Finnish variant of baseball.

In addition to Finns, competitors came from Albania, Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Italy and the United Sates to compete in the third-ever event, in Savonlinna, a northeast town close to the Russian border.

The games, which traditionally begin with a beer toast to the contestants sponsored by the local brewery, include events for individuals or teams. There are no separate men's and women's events.

Phone throwers can compete in the "original" category, a straight over-arm pitch where length is the main factor, and in "freestyle," where points are also given for style, costume and character, as well as general soberness.

This year's freestyle winner was Britain's Ali Aitken. Valta's compatriots Janne Mielikaeinen and Erno Riihelae took second and third place in the original category, tossing their phones 59.29 and 54.52 meters respectively.

Valta said he was aiming to reach 80 meters next year.