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Balloons - a game of keep up

In the unusual sport of balloons, players attempt to keep a balloon in the air, winning points if the opposition player fails to hit the balloon before it hits the ground. This is a traditional activity played in homes across the world, but has recently been turned into a competitive sport. The sport is also known as Keep-Up or Keep-it-up, or some variation of this.

The rules of the competition are quite simple: players have to keep the balloon up and points are scored if their opponent fails to prevent it from touching the ground.

The aim is to hit the balloon away from your opponent. It can be hit upwards or sideways, but not down, and once hit the player must not purposely block their opponent. Any part of the body can be used to hit the balloon.

Games can be played anywhere, but ideally where there are some obstacles, such as around a lounge-room, but away from things that can be easily broken. Only the ground counts as out, so if the balloon hits an obstacle, play continues.

Each game continues until a player reaches a set number of points, or played for a set time period and the person with the highest number of points at the conclusion of the time is the winner.

Worldwide interest in the sport grew when a video of siblings Antonio, Diego, and Isa Arredondo from Canby, Oregon USA playing balloons around their house became very popular. The video caught the attention of superstar Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué, who decided to turn their game into the 1st Annual Balloon World Cup. The event took place at an amusement park in Tarragona, Spain in 2022. The inaugural Balloon World Cup winner was Francesco De La Cruz from Peru, defeating German's Jan Spiess 6-2.

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