Everyone has heard of soccer, football, rugby, tennis, swimming and running, but not everyone knows about wife-carrying or chess boxing.
Here are 10 of the most unusual and fun-loving sports events from around the world, some of these may seem truly bizarre!
1. Sepak takraw
A popular sport in Southeast Asia, this action pack game resembles volleyball but instead of hands, players use their feet, knees, chest and head to move the ball, made from soft wood. The International Sepak Takraw Federation holds competitions with teams from over a hundred countries.
This sport was first described in the popular Harry Potter book series, which involves a semi-contact ball sport, played on broomsticks. Real world enthusiasts have invented a land version which is played on a hockey field. The game first began in US colleges and has spread across the states. Supporters refer to the game as muggle quidditch because muggles are what the series characters call non-magic folk.
3. Tuna tossing
This sport began in South Australia in the small fishing community of Port Lincoln. It was inspired by the local fishermen who would toss fish onto their trucks with a force and used as a way to spice up the local festival. The winner is the person who throws a 20 pound fish the furthest. Nowadays the competition has become somewhat cleaner – participants use a rubber fish.
4. Toe wrestling
This sport is similar to arm wrestling with players attempting to pin down their opponents toes for three seconds. Players play with their bare feet and alternate between their left and right feet, and play the best of three rounds. There are separate men and women’s divisions. The World Toe Wrestling Championship has been ongoing since the 1970’s and enjoys growing participation.
5. Chess boxing
This unlikely combination of sports involves brains and brawn. Competitors play 11 alternating rounds of chess and boxing for 3 minutes each. This little known sport has fans in Germany, India, Russia and the UK.
6. Hotdog eating contest
One of the more prominent forms of competitive eating; the rules involve participants trying to eat as many hot dogs as they can in a ten minute period. The sport began in US county fairs and has gained recognition due to Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest, held annually on the 4th of July. The sport has spawned a huge industry and enjoys popularity in the US, Canada, and Japan.
7. Man vs. horse marathon
This marathon began as a way to settle a pub argument in 1979 when Welsh locals Gordon Green and Glyn Hones wondered who would win a marathon: a horse or man. Ever since then an annual 22 mile |(35.4 km) marathon is held in Welsh Town, Wales with both men and horses running. Men have won on two occasions, but usually the horses are seen winning. If a human wins, they are eligible to win a $40,000 cash prize.
8. Redneck games
Held in East Dublin, Georgia every summer since 1996 this athletic event involves unique sports you might not usually see in any other sporting context. Some of the events include toilet seat tossing, seed spitting, mud belly flops, armpit serenades and dumpster diving.
9. Wheelbarrow racecourse
You might have played this as a kid, using a friend’s legs as the wheelbarrow. Some people make this activity a competitive race. Some participants even have taken to using real wheelbarrows. In Kenya, there is a race called “To Hell’s Gate on a Wheelbarrow” so named after the National Park that holds the 5 kilometer (3.1 miles) race course. Funds raised from this fun event go to conservation efforts for the park.
10. Wife carrying
While this activity sounds like it could be a race held in a quaint European town this sport enjoys global appeal. The game has its origins in Finland where local women were commonly abducted. The World Wife Carrying World Championship has teams competing from Australia, Germany, Great Britain, Estonia, Ireland, and the United States. The United States team is competitive: participants need to win their state championship to qualify for the global championship. Despite the title, any team of two can participate.