There is something funny – in a sobering sort of way – about fighting Balkan stereotypes by embracing them.
At least this is what people in Montenegro are doing, turning the prejudice about their nation being ‘lazy’ into an Olympic sport, well sort of.
Seven competitors are taking part in what has now become an annual contest for the ‘Laziest Citizen’.
Held in the northern village of Brezna, it sees participants lying down on mats for almost 24 hours a day.
The rules stipulate that standing or sitting are considered a violation and grounds for immediate disqualification, but people are allowed to have 10 minutes every eight hours to go to the toilet.
‘All of us feel good, excellent, there are no health problems, they are pampering us, all we have to do is to remain lying down,’ said the 2021 champion Dubravka Aksic.
A lying down record of 117 hours was set at last year’s contest, but as this year’s entered a 20th day on Thursday, the remaining contestants are determined to keep going.
Radonja Blagojevic, organiser and owner of the resort in Brezna, said the contest was launched 12 years ago to mock a popular myth that labels Montenegrins as lazy.
She said the seven remaining contestants from a starting field of 21 had been lying down for 463 hours so far.
Fortunately, they are allowed to use their mobile phones and laptops to keep themselves occupied.
Filip Knezevic, a first-time contestant from the northern town of Mojkovac, said he was confident of victory and picking up the 1,000-euro prize.
‘We have everything we need here, company is fantastic, time goes by quickly,’ he said.
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