German handball players take part in the Brunsbuttel Mudflat Olympics to raise money for cancer research

Handball fanatics battled it out at the annual Fun Tideland Olympics which took place today in the Wadden Sea, Brunsbuettel, northern Germany.

Some 100 athletes took part in the so-called “Wattoluempiade”, or mudflat Olympics, on the muddy banks at low tide of the Elbe.

Handball, soccer, mud-eel racing, long distance wellington throwing and mud cycling are some of the events that have graced the Mudflat Olympics

Organizers have held the annual competition, alongside a festival for local groups, to benefit the Schleswig-Holstein Cancer Society since 2004.

The tradition of mud sports goes back a long way to Brunsbuttel; where local athletes first staged a Mud Olympics by the river in This year, huge crowds gathered to watch the highly competitive handball matches.

Athletes struggled through knee-deep mud to get their hands on the slippery ball

Hundreds of eager spectators lined up for the annual competition and festival along the muddy banks of the Elbe

Hundreds of eager spectators lined up for the annual competition and festival along the muddy banks of the Elbe

Things got scrambled in no time as around 100 athletes got stuck in the competition

Things got scrambled in no time as around 100 athletes got stuck in the competition

Some contestants resorted to swimming across the pitch as fierce games turned the bank into a treacherous quagmire

Some contestants resorted to swimming across the pitch as fierce games turned the bank into a treacherous quagmire

After a tough muddy game of handball, the players line up for a well-deserved shower

After a tough muddy game of handball, the players line up for a well-deserved shower

The game quickly became competitive as players battled to gain the upper hand.

The game quickly became competitive as players battled to gain the upper hand.

No need for team colors in this game, with each team sporting an attractive dark brown kit

No need for team colors in this game, with each team sporting an attractive dark brown kit

With the pitch, ball, players and kits all the same color, it's a wonder these teams have finished playing

With the pitch, ball, players and kits all the same color, it’s a wonder these teams have finished playing

Players struggle to master the conditions and to each other in the mud

Players struggle to master the conditions and to each other in the mud

Mud was so deep in places it left players waist deep

Mud was so deep in places it left players waist deep

It was not prohibited as a rough in rough and muddy handball matches

It was not prohibited as a rough in rough and muddy handball matches

Some players preferred lighter clothing as everyone did their best to play in the conditions

Some players preferred lighter clothing as everyone did their best to play in the conditions

He may have combed the mud out of his beard for a long time, but at least he had fun

He may have combed the mud out of his beard for a long time, but at least he had fun

Maximum concentration was needed as the small ball quickly got covered in mud

Maximum concentration was needed as the small ball quickly got covered in mud

Some teams even showed up to compete in the Mud Olympics in fancy dress

Some teams even showed up to compete in the Mud Olympics in fancy dress

While others went as bright as possible in an effort to stand out in a sea of ​​mud

While others went as bright as possible in an effort to stand out in a sea of ​​mud

Swim caps and bare torsos were the order of the day for this rugged squad, which presumably saved a bucket load on cleaning costs

Swim caps and bare torsos were the order of the day for this rugged squad, which presumably saved a bucket load on cleaning costs

Surprisingly clean crowd watched the Olympic handball matches in the mud

Surprisingly clean crowd watched the Olympic handball matches in the mud

The annual Mudflat Olympics have been held to raise funds for cancer research since 2004

The annual Mudflat Olympics have been held to raise funds for cancer research since 2004

But the tradition of playing sports on the muddy banks of the Elbe dates back to 1978

But the tradition of playing sports on the muddy banks of the Elbe dates back to 1978

Pitchside showers are provided for athletes to wash off mud after the game

Pitchside showers are provided for athletes to wash off mud after the game

The recent heatwave hasn't been a problem for Brunsbuttel, as the muddy banks of the Elbe have played their part in the success of this year's Mudflat Olympics.

The recent heatwave hasn’t been a problem for Brunsbuttel, as the muddy banks of the Elbe have played their part in the success of this year’s Mudflat Olympics.