Strange But Sport

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“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”

                                                                              – Hunter S Thompson

The world of sports offers much not only by way of health and entertainment but also livelihood to many. Simple day to day tasks like surfing the web, watching television, or walking down the street entail quite a few run-ins with famous sports personalities ranging from MSD to Roger Federer. While mainstream sports like cricket, tennis, gymnastics, cycling etc., form a part and parcel of our daily lives, there abound many quirky sports which provide entertainment, while making one pause to say “Wait a minute, did I hear that right?”

Welcome to this weird and wonderful world of quirky sports which range from different takes on the popular sports to the right down bizarre!

India is no stranger to the world of traditional sports, what with sporting arenas being mentioned in ancient epics and being found in numerous archaeological sites around the country. Many of us remember the joys of racing a bicycle tyre down the street, playing hop-scotch with friends or swinging from the ariel roots of towering banyans. In fact, Rural Olympics are held every year in Ludhiana, Punjab under the name of ‘Kila Raipur Sports Festival’. 

Quirky and Bizzare Sports in India

Asol-Tale Aap

Image result for Asol-Tale Aap

Image Source: https://www.traditionalsports.org/traditional-sports/asia/asol-tale-aap-india.html

You may have heard of racing canoes but ever heard of racing them on sand? This is precisely what happens in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where participants drag their canoes through the sand with their arms and legs for almost 5 to 6 kilometres.

Yubi Lakpi

Image result for Yubi Lakpi

Image Source: http://www.e-pao.net/epGallery.asp?id=10&src=Sports/IndigenousGames/SangaiDay7YubiLakpi20131127_2

This form of rugby played in Manipur has a coconut replacing the ball and is played seven a side. Having its origins in mythology, the coconut is said to represent the pot of nectar churned from the ocean during the ‘Amrit Manthan’.

Kalarippayattu

Two Man in White Shorts Fighting Using Sword during Daytime

Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/two-man-in-white-shorts-fighting-using-sword-during-daytime-165939/

Believed to be the precursor of Kung Fu, this form of martial arts practised in Kerala has been popularised in many movies including Asoka, Myth, Lost Legion etc. Requiring specially crafted swords and shields, it involves kicks, strikes, grappling as well as healing techniques.

Mallakhamb

Image result for mallakhamb

Image Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/mp-state-sport-mallakhamb-makes-it-to-tokyo-olympics/articleshow/77843860.cms

This sport is essentially gymnastics atop a pole and is popular in Maharashtra. This sport requires immense focus and control on movement. It has been around since the 12th century AD.

Quirky and Bizzare Sports Played Internationally

Did you think the quirky and bizarre sports world belongs only to India? Well, think again!

Let’s explore the world of bizarre sports abroad!

Shin Kicking

Image result for Shin Kicking

Image Source: https://www.sickchirpse.com/highlights-world-shin-kicking-championships/

Played in the Cotswolds in England, this is exactly what it sounds like! You attack your enemy’s shin till one of you cries “Sufficient”. Luckily, only soft toed shoes are allowed and it stops just short of blood and gore!

Fierljeppen

Image result for Fierljeppen

Image Source: https://scorum.com/en-us/extremesports/@liuke96player/rare-sports-4-fierljeppen

‘Far Leaping’ in Dutch, this game was born out of necessity in the Friesland province of the Netherlands which is crisscrossed by waterways. Local farmers had to leap over them in the absence of bridges to reach their fields.

The modern version entails sprinting along a dock-like platform, launching onto a giant pole in a canal and leaping onto a bed of sand onto the other side.

Giant Pumpkin Kayaking

Image result for Giant Pumpkin Kayaking

Image Source: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/giant-pumpkin-regatta-oregon-halloween

This sport takes place on lake Pesaquid in Nova Scotia, Canada where people build kayaks out of giant pumpkins, decorate them colourfully and set off on a kayaking race.

Gurning

Image result for gurning

Image Source: https://www.catersnews.com/stories/quirky/dont-pull-that-face-at-me-world-gurning-championships-take-place-with-more-not-so-pretty-faces/

If you like pulling funny faces, this rural British game is the one for you! Dating back to a royal charter granted in 1267, this competition of pulling the worst facial expression takes place at Egremont crab fair in England.

Sepak Takraw

© hosin2009 / Flickr

Image Source: https://theculturetrip.com/asia/malaysia/articles/sepaktakraw-malaysias-national-sport/

Popular in South East Asia, it resembles volleyball. But the difference is that the ball is made of softwood and the players use their feet, knees, chest and head to move the ball around.

Camel Jumping

Image result for Camel Jumping

Image Source: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/the-sport-of-camel-jumping-54958431/

Originally from Yemen, this is played exclusively by the Zaraniq desert tribesmen. It involves sprinting barefoot towards a group of camels stacked horizontally and clean jumping over them.

Buzkashi

Image result for Buzkashi

Image Source: https://theculturetrip.com/asia/afghanistan/articles/buzkashi-afghanistans-goat-grabbing-national-sport/

Afganistan’s national sport, which originated somewhere in Central Asia, is certainly not for the faint-hearted. It means goat dragging and the players do precisely that, vying for the control of a headless goat or calf carcass with the goal of getting it into the opponent’s Kazan or goal.

Thus, the world of sport has a lot to offer all sports buffs. So go ahead, put your best foot forward and invent your own weird and wonderful game.

Who knows, it might be the next in-thing! Have any quirky sport ideas? Share it with us!

 

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About the author

Describing herself as a 'surgeon who would rather wield a pen', Dr Sumedha Rege is an ENT specialist by profession but a writer by choice. After completing post-graduation in ENT in 2003, she has also worked as a post-graduate trainer in a popular institute in Mumbai. Obtaining an advanced diploma in creative writing with distinction in 2010, she has written on myriad topics for quite a few online publications. She currently has a private practice in Thane and is specially interested in nasal allergies.

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