By Chris Jaffray
This uni grad is the only female world champion in the best sport you’ve never heard of – professional TAG.
It might be something most of us left in the playground but German Silke Solfrank, 22, now makes a living from the high-octane adrenaline-fuelled event – despite only playing it for the last two years.
The bizarre sport is a mixture of the playground game tag and parkour and is now watched by 250 million people online and attracts professionals from all over the world to compete in it.
And far from involving just running around on the school field, Frankfurt PE graduate Silke insisted the sport takes stamina, agility and top level fitness as competitors jump over and dive under bars and go to any length possible to avoid being caught in 20 second bursts.
The 22-year-old, who recently travelled to London to compete as the only woman in at the PRO2GO World Chase Tag contest, said: “In London I was the only girl on the team but it was cool, everyone not only just accepted me but really welcomed and supported me.
“You play the tag in the middle of a layer and there are bars set up like a playground.
“Agility for the location is very important, and you have to train to get comfortable with the bars.
“You also gain a lot of stamina as you are chased for 20 seconds at a time.
“I love playing the sport because it’s like being a kid in an adult’s body.
“It is the same game you played as a kid but much more difficult and challenging.”
World Chase Tag sees teams compete in groups of five, ducking and darting across the course for 20 seconds
Teams compete in groups of five and have 20 seconds at a time to avoid being tagged – and the sport even has its own governing body.
Silke first got into the sport in 2017 after spotting a video online, and within just two short years of training she had risen to play at the professional level.
She said: “I hope to be back at the world championships next year.
“It will be interesting to see where the game goes and how it evolves.”
World Chase Tag was created in 2016 by Christian Devaux after an argument with his son about who was better at tag.
From this a set of rules and formats were developed and the first event took place in December that year with footage going viral online.
Christian said: “Our dream is for World Chase Tag to be played everywhere.
“When we created the game we knew we had dreamt up something special.
“We all loved playing it when we were kids and I think secretly we all would love to be kids again!
“WCT allows you do this, albeit for a 20 second round.”