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Hot air balloon World Cup: show acrobatics win inaugural Peruvian title
Inspired by a series of viral videos and curated by Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique and internet celebrity Ibai Llanos, the inaugural Hot Air Balloon World Cup took place in Tarragona on Thursday.

Francesco De La Cruz became the first champion after beating the German Jan Spiess 6-2 in the final on an 8×8 meter court littered with living room furniture as well as a small car.

“I am very, very happy, I thank God that I was able to achieve this,” said the Peruvian teenager.

The rules of the game are simple. The players have to kick the ball upwards and they score points if their opponent fails to prevent it from touching the ground.

Teams from 32 countries participated, including an American team of Antonio and Diego Arredondo, whose videos of the game they played with their sister, Isabel, at home in Oregon, were a huge success on social media and inspired the tournament.

“We played the game when we were kids and then, during the early quarantine for Covid, we wanted to play it again,” Antonio Arredondo told Reuters.

“We started arguing about whether it hit the ground or not, so we started taking slow motion videos to see if it did, and then finally we got to the point of” Let’s post this video of us on Tik- Tok. ‘

“When I woke up the next morning it was completely viral like a million likes and then after that we just decided to keep playing and playing more and more until one of our turns attracts the attention of Ibai and Pique. “

Pique, who won a FIFA World Cup with Spain in 2010, was delighted with how the inaugural tournament went.

“It’s amazing, it’s something totally different, sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and try new things,” he said.


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