All this Olympic talk got me thinking about sports that go on around the world. There are obviously hundreds, but aside from the regular sports there are some rather unusual ones that exist too. I never knew the world of sport was quite so colourful!
After doing some research into the strange sports that happen across the globe, I found some rather amusing ones that I just had to share with you. Here are ten of my favourite weird and wonderful sporting events that take place.
This muddy sport is exactly as it sounds – snorkelling in a bog. It first began in 1976 after the game was devised over a pint of beer. The first World Bog Snorkelling Championship was then held in 1985. This annual event, which attracts more than 100 people, still takes place today and it is held in Wales. Contestants must swim two lengths of a 55 metre bog trench wearing a snorkel and fins, although they are not allowed to use regular swimming strokes.
Another British sport to add to the list. Bed racing was introduced in 1965 in the town of Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. The first race was only open to Army, Navy and American marines but now it is open to anybody. The rules state that competitors must race in teams of six with one contestant on the actual bed. The rest push and control the bed round a 3km track that involves hills and river crossings.
This sport maintains a rather simple rule – competitors must juggle while jogging. Rather self-explanatory really! If an object is dropped the joggler (yes that is what they are termed) must return to the point where the object fell and continue from there. The annual Joggling World Championship was first held in 1980 in North Dakota, USA. The championships include a variety of races and the most common objects used are juggling balls and clubs.
Sepak Takraw is an exciting fast paced sport that was founded in South-East Asia, perhaps as far back as the 15th century. The popularity of the game is spreading throughout the world. It brings together the skills and techniques found in volleyball, football and martial arts. It is traditionally played over a badminton-like net and each team has three players on the court at one time. The game is similar to volleyball, except that using the hands is not permitted and each player can touch the ball only once before it is hit over the net. The ball can be returned over the net using any part of the body except for the arm – from the shoulder to the point of the finger.
This extreme gravity powered activity is a dry land version of the renowned winter sport, the luge, although rules do vary. Participants race downhill feet first on a streetluge board, which is similar to a skateboard. Street luge started in 1975 in southern California. The sport was hosted by the US Skateboard Association but was soon halted due to a high number of injuries for both contestants and spectators. Several riders kept the sport alive and as a result the sport evolved rapidly. There are now there strict safety requirements for any sanctioned competitions, including the wearing of a helmet, sturdy shoes and a protective racing suit.
This is an ancient sport that makes up part of the Cotswold Olimpicks (not a typo!), a popular event held in Gloucestershire since 1612. Once again the sport is rather self-explanatory with the aim to kick your opponent as hard as you can in the shins. Each time the opponent falls to the ground the other participant gets a point. The winner is the person with the highest score in the best of three rounds. The rules state that competitors can pad their legs with straw.
This unusual sport was founded in Holland and is known to locals as Fierljeppen. Contestants have to use a long pole to jump from one side of the canal to the other. The poles are between 3-5m long and have a flat round plate at the bottom to prevent it from sinking into the muddy canal. The contestants run and jump onto the pole and then shimmy to the top of it before jumping off on the opposite side of the canal. Participants attach bicycle inner tubes to their feet to aid their jump. A National Canal Jumping Contest is held in the Netherlands on 22 August each year. No prize is won in the competition, except the honour of being the Dutch Champion Canal Jumper.
Another strange British sport with another simple theory. Competitors must take off their shoes and socks, face each other, interlock toes and try to force each other off the ‘toedium’. It is common courtesy for each player to remove their competitor’s socks (yuck!!) Typically, after a short starting chant (for example, “one, two, three, four, I declare a toe war.”), the competitors proceed to attempt to pin their opponent’s feet for three seconds, while avoiding the same. Pinning is accomplished by placing one foot on the same foot of the opponent. The first World Toe Wrestling Championship was held in 1976 after the game was devised in a pub in Derbyshire.
Cardboard Tube Fighting:
Once a favourite childhood pastime after the wrapping paper had been used up, cardboard tube fighting is now a proper sport. Opponents go head to head and try to break each other’s tube without breaking their own. They also get points for cardboard costumes and theatrics. The game is so well known that a global organisation called the Cardboard Tube Fighting League (CTFL) was devised. The CTFL hosts cardboard tube based events in the USA and Australia.
As you may know the dunny is an Australian term for the toilet so yes this sport does involve toilets! The Dunny Derby is an important event on the sporting calendar of Winton in Queensland, Australia. The unusual pursuit involves a person sitting on a lavatory on wheels while other team members pull it along. Teams can have up to five members. The event is part of the Outback Festival which is held every second year in September.
So there’s a little round up of some rather unusual sports. The list doesn’t stop there though. There are plenty more strange pursuits going on around the world; some involving animals, some using food and some in which you’re attached to your spouse! You should look them up – they will definitely make you giggle. Maybe you’ll even be encouraged to have a go at some…
Peace, love and unusual sport pizza,
What On Earth