The World’s Most Unusual Sports
Now that Rio 2016 has finished, you can expect to see a rise in people participating in sports, which is a regular post-Olympic phenomenon. From Greco-Wrestling to Taekwondo, the Olympics gives sports which aren’t usually in the limelight a chance to take centre stage, and in turn, increase their popularity.
Whilst Rio gave us a taste of some lesser known pursuits, there are thousands more sports across the globe just waiting to be discovered. So, the team here at Asda Money have looked at some of the most weird and wonderful sports in existence, just in case you fancy giving them a go yourself, or perhaps just want to spectate when you’re next abroad.
Quidditch may be a popular make-believe sport among a wizard or two, but believe it or not, it’s an actual sport in real life as well. The United States Quidditch Association is a non-profit organisation that governs the sport in the mighty USA. Deriving from the fictional game, played in the famous Harry Potter novels and films, the sport combines elements of ruby, dodgeball, and lacrosse. Before you wonder, yes brooms are involved!
The contact sport sees people riding brooms whilst using volleyballs, with ‘Chasers’ being responsible for scoring points by passing, running, or kicking the ball to their teammates or into the hoops. The ‘Seeker’ players must catch the Snitch, which is usually a tennis ball instead of the fictional gold sphere with wings. The teams also include ‘Keepers’, who guard the hoops and act as an additional Chaser, and the ‘Beaters’ who use dodgeballs (bludgers) to move players out of the way. Just like in Harry Potter, when the Snitch is caught, the game is over and the team who caught it takes victory.
Video sourced from Washington Post via Youtube
Merging characteristics of wrestling and rugby, Kabaddi is a team sport which originated in ancient India, making it almost 4,000 years old. Requiring both strength and agility, the sport was allegedly first created to develop self-defence skills, as well as responses to attack.
The game is made up of two teams of seven who compete with each other by touching or capturing opponents, in turn trying to score higher than the other team. The teams compete against each other in a large square arena, and participants from each team take it in turns to run across the centre of the court. The raider’s aim is to touch members of the other team and run back, in one breath, but if they are prevented from returning back to their side, they score no points. This all might sound pretty straightforward, but the aim of the opposing team is to hold the raider, stopping him from returning to his own court, until he takes another breath. If the raider cannot return to his own court in the same breath whilst chanting the word “Kabbadi”, he will be out of the game.
As the name might suggest, this sport is a mix of chess and boxing, if you can imagine such a thing. A predominantly European endeavour, the earliest recorded bouts took place in Berlin, with Dutch performance artist Iepe Rubingh founding the World Chessboxing Day Association shortly after.
Consisting of 11 rounds, 6 of chess and 5 of boxing, Chessboxing promises to push those brave enough to attempt it to both their intellectual and physical limits.
Sepak Takraw, South East Asia
Sepak Takraw originated in South East Asia, allegedly dating back to the 15th century, where it has been played ever since throughout Malaysia and Thailand in particular. Otherwise known as Kick Volleyball, the name literally means ‘to kick’ or ‘to smash’, and is played on a rectangular court with a net suspended in the middle.
The game is simple, all you need to do is deliver the ball over the net into the opponent’s court using your legs, head, or torso, but here comes the tricky part; no hands or arms are allowed. Sepak Takraw is now a regular sporting event in the Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games.
Video sourced from Khelkit.com via Youtube
Perhaps one of the most bizarre sports of them all is Gostra. This is an old traditional sport which originated in Malta and involves people trying to scrabble their way to the top of a large, greasy pole in an attempt to snatch pennants, or flags, to win them victory.
The flags each have their own religious meaning, and are all associated with specific prizes for those who reach them. The sport takes place just once a year, the last Sunday of August, and can be seen in the popular tourist seaside towns of Msida and Spinola Bay in St. Julian’s. You’re unlikely to see anything as unique as this elsewhere on your holiday.
Video sourced from ODN via Youtube
If you’re planning on taking part in a sport whilst abroad, having the correct travel insurance is crucial. Make sure you are fully covered by checking your policy, ensuring you have the correct protection for any medical, health or sport related injury.