Ups and downs, at Israel 'longest yo-yo' contest

Jun 15, 2011

There could only be one winner -- one yo-yo to rule them all -- but this was no ordinary yo-yo competition, with each one dangling from a 65-foot (20-metre) rope, suspended on a crane.

The contest on Wednesday, touted as featuring the world's longest yo-yos, was conceived as an unusual way to test the physics skills and sheer ingenuity of students at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.

On a lawn at the centre of the campus, in the northern , a towering yellow crane was set up, to give each of the 14 teams a chance to try their luck.

The oversized playthings were hoisted skyward in a cage, winched up carefully before the cage trapdoors opened and the makeshift yo-yos unfurled their way towards the ground below.

"It looks simple at first, but as you dive in, you want to make it better and better," said Yaniv Bas, a mechanical engineering student at the Technion.

"We only have one shot, which is why it should be simple."

Some yo-yos were spartan affairs, putting substance over style. But others aimed to please the crowd as much as the judges, who were measuring how far each yo-yo would ascend after its initial plunge from the top of the almost 100-foot crane

One entry was painted in yellow-and-black stripes that wiggled psychedelically as the yo-yo span downwards, a built-in mechanism releasing coloured confetti into the air, to the delight of the audience below.

Another was painted on each side with a yellow grinning face, a single tooth painted in a wide, red smile that span around as the yo-yo yo-yoed.

At stake for the team with the best showing was 10,000 shekels ($2,935), and, of course, the glory of beating out their schoolmates.

In the end, Eyal Moshe Cohen won the day, with his all-steel yo-yo netting him and his teammates the top prize.

"It's made entirely of steel, so the momentum is very high, which is what made it win," he said after, grinning at the unexpected victory.

"I was not sure it was going to win until they made the announcement. I'm very proud of it," he said.

And as for the winnings, Cohen, a mechanical , said he had simple plans for his share.

"I'm a student, I'm not working, so it will go to pay my apartment and things like that. It will make my life easier."

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