Do you ever find yourself growing tired of everyday sports like Soccer, Rugby and Golf? Luckily for you, people can, and will, find competition in almost anything.
Whether out of boredom or pure insanity, numerous weird sports have been created over the years. Some of these games trace their roots back hundreds of years but remain unregulated. Others, however, have been embraced internationally and are able to attract a large number of participants and spectators. I’m going to cover them all, or at least as many as I can, with three examples per week. Welcome, sports fans, to a trip round some of the world’s weirdest sports.
- Chess Boxing.
We’ve all heard of Chess and we’ve all heard of Boxing, but have you heard of…Chess Boxing? As the name suggests, Chess Boxing is a hybrid of the two. So how can this possibly work?
According to the World Chess Boxing Organization, the idea is to combine the #1 thinking sport with the #1 fighting sport. A contest is usually eleven rounds, consisting of six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing. The chess rounds last four minutes and the boxing lasts three minutes, and rounds alternate between the two. The idea is to score either a checkmate or a knockout. In the event of tie during chess, the number of points earned during the boxing rounds determines the match. If the fight ends in a tie, the winner is the combatant who used the black pieces of chess.
For anyone interested, their cheesy motto is the “fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board”.
2. Shin Kicking
Shin Kicking is pretty much summed up perfectly by its name. It is technically a combat sport I suppose. It involves two competitors attempting to kick each other hard enough on the shin to force them to give in or go to ground. If you can cause your opponent to fall, you earn a point. It is a best-of-three contest and the winner moves on to the next round. It was includes in the Cotswold Olimpick Games in 1951 as the “World Shin-kicking Championships” and has grown to become the most popular event. It apparently draws thousands of spectators.
Competitors have been known to hit their shins with a hammer to try and build up a pain tolerance. But modern day Shin Kickers are required to wear soft shoes and stuff their trousers with straw for padding. How affective straw is as padding when you’re being repeatedly kicked on the shin is up for debate.
It has been referred to as an English Martial Art.
3. Sepak Takraw
This week’s last weird sport, but definitely not least, is Sepak Takraw. Also commonly known as ‘kick volleyball’, it is a sport predominantly played in Southeast Asia, especially in the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand.
It differs from the similar sport of volleyball in its use of a rattan ball (woven out of plastic, sometimes straw) and by the fact that it only allows players to use their feet, knees, chest and head to touch the ball. The game is played with two teams of four players. There are three players on the court (the back, the left inside and the right inside) and then there is a player in reserve. It is played on a court with a net about the size of badminton net.
Sepak Takraw is now governed by ISTAF, the International Sepak Takraw Federation. They have major competitions every year, including the ISRAF SuperSeries, the ISTAF World Cup and the King’s Cup World Championships.
Pundit Arena, Donal Lucey.