The best in Italy pay a special visit

Display: The Flag Throwers stopped by Italian Australian Club, Morwell on Friday. Photographs: Liam Durkin




YES, this is a sport.

Italian Australian Club, Morwell, was treated to a special sneak-peak performance on Friday.

Before wowing the crowd at the Mirboo North Italian Festa on Sunday, internationally acclaimed group ‘The Flag Throwers’, took to the bocce courts of Morwell.

The walls of the bocce Rafa court did little to hinder the performance, as the group tossed, twirled and showcased incredible coordination for a select group of people.

Making their way onto the courts, flag throwers, and a duet of drummers, put on a show-stopping piece.

Forming two lines for part of the performance, highlights came when flags were flipped and flicked from person-to-person, as well as balanced on kneecaps, and even vollied like a soccer ball.

Given the flags were quite some size, this was certainly no ordinary feat.

Practically speaking, the flags appeared to have a small staff, with a small section for performers to hold onto before letting fly.

In terms of actually speaking, the interview process in getting a word with someone from the flag group, none of whom spoke English, proved a bit challenging, but luckily, Italian Australian Club president Sam Carbone was on hand to translate.

Group captain Ivan Samori explained flag throwing was a national sport in Italy, with championships held every September.

The sport originated around the 1700s as a form of communication during war times.

The more skilful flag throwers then evolved it into what is seen today.

The flag throwers that people saw in Morwell and Mirboo North are regarded as the best in Italy.

As captain, Samori communicates what moves the group will make.

Every flag has a name, and through Samori’s direction, players know what to do with it.

The flags on display represented one of the five groups in their city back home.

If anybody wants to be a flag thrower, Samori had a few tips.

“Start when you are young, 12 or 13 years of age,” he said (through translation).

“Like anything else, you need passion and lots of training.”

For comparison sake, the sport is adjudicated with a system similar to diving, with points awarded based on the degree of difficulty

The Flag Throwers travel around the world, and are in Australia for two weeks.

Despite the language barrier, the sight of Samori dropping his flag while explaining was enough for this writer to figure out that meant a disqualification.

In fact, the language barrier may have just emphasised the power of sport.

Even through a sport hardly anyone knows even exists, it is still enough to be a language people can communicate through.

Sky high: The Flag Throwers doing what they do best.
Double action: The group exercises a great deal of creativity.
Italia: Italian Australian Club president Sam Carbone, Flag Throwers captain Ivan Samori, and Italian Australian Club vice president, Tony Paolini.