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Cambridge jelly wrestling 'tradition' is no more


Jelly wrestling is off the menu at Cambridge, after an online petition gained more than 1,000 names within 24 hours.

At its summer party, Magdalene College’s all-male Wyverns drinking society traditionally invites four female students to wrestle each other in a 6ft paddling pool filled with jelly.

Nina de Paula Hanika, 19, a history of art student at Magdalene College, started the petition against the competition last Monday. It closed on Wednesday after reaching 1,174 signatures.

In a statement, a representative of the Wyverns said: “The Wyverns regret to announce that this year they will be unable to hold the annual jelly wrestling tournament at WGP13.

“Having never received formal complaints in the past, we were reluctant to take immediate action on the recent petition. However, the anti-jelly vitriol with which the campaign was conducted forced us to take the threats that we received seriously.

“We are keen to maintain our reputation as the biggest, loosest, naughtiest, silliest party that Cambridge has to offer. See you all on Suicide Sunday!”

However, in a meeting between De Paula Hanika and the president of the Wyverns, the drinking society initially refused to stop the jelly wrestling competition from taking place.

Since the decision, a counter-petition to bring back jelly wrestling currently has 336 signatures, many of them pseudonyms.

One supporter wrote: “Women should have the right to choose what they feel is acceptable for them, and should not be dictated by the political views of individuals not involved in the event.”

De Paula Hanika told The Independent, “In no way should my petition be read as an attempt to judge the women who have taken part in the past, nor ban jelly wrestling itself as an activity. I feel very strongly that women telling other women what to do is wrong, which is why the entire petition statement was directed towards the male organisers of the event.

“This is therefore not about shaming girls who want take part, but about questioning the biased emphasis on the manner in which women are frequently pressured to seek validation through their bodies and appearance.”

The jelly wrestling competition received national attention in 2008, when one of the competitors assaulted a fellow student before punching a bouncer and head-butting another.

Since then, the garden party has been held in a secret location.

It is unclear whether the drinking society will uphold the bikinis and blazers dress code.