Austrians go body surfing on field in Bucharest after rain

Sports

Austria’s Christoph Baumgartner takes a dive on the pitch during a heavy rainfall before a training session at the National Arena stadium in Bucharest, Romania, Saturday, June 12, 2021, the day before their first match against North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Austria midfielder Christoph Baumgartner took off from the middle of the field, picked up some pace and dove head first onto the grass.

He wasn’t trying to score a goal at the European Championship, or even trying to stop an opposing attack. He was simply trying to body surf.

Baumgartner and teammate Stefan Posch both took a turn sliding along the field after a deluge of rain during what was supposed to be a practice session in Bucharest on Saturday — a day before Austria is to play North Macedonia at Euro 2020.

Baumgartner, with his arms spread wide like Superman, managed to travel about 30 feet (10 meters) before coming to a very wet stop.

Many in the Austrian team sat by the side of the field during the downpour waiting for a let up. When the rain finally stopped, they walked out on the field at the National Arena but quickly realized they couldn’t practice.

Some players and coaches walked through the puddles and tried to throw the ball down to see how far it would roll. It didn’t. It just sort of plopped right into the soaked field.

Baumgartner and Posch took it one step further, having some fun with the situation.

Although the stadium has a retractable roof, it wasn’t closed during the 30-or-so-minute rain storm, allowing the field to soak through. The team’s training session was soon called off and switched to the other side of town, to the stadium that Romanian club Steaua Bucharest plays in.

The North Macedonia practice is expected to follow the Austrians at the replacement venue.

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