Chess boxing, toe wrestling and eight other sports you need to know about
The UK sporting sphere is dominated by many popular forms of sport.
Football arguably supersedes any other sport in terms of media coverage and attention, due to its popularity and cultural influence.
However, for those who want to explore new ground, there are a plethora of ‘unconventional’ sports available to try.
So, if you should have a passion for ironing, feel like getting competitive in a sauna or just want to take the weight off your wife’s feet, you can. All in the name of sporting competition. No, seriously!
Here’s a look at some of the most unusual sports that have gained notoriety across the globe...
Surprisingly enough, Underwater Hockey was actually invented in England back in 1954, gradually spreading across Europe, the United States and Australia.
The rules are very similar to regular hockey, with two teams of 6 having to push a puck along the floor of a swimming pool to the opposition's end.
However, from a spectators’ point of view, the gameplay is rather frantic, with players from both teams having to regularly surface for air.
The game now has a world championship every two years along with an ever-increasing tournament calendar.
You may have played something very similar called 'aeroball'.
Bossaball is basically trampoline volleyball with a Spanish party atmosphere- yes a DJ playing a dance set is part of the package.
The sport was invented in Spain in 2004 and combines the art of volleyball spiking and football dribbling, with two teams of four allowed to use any body part in order to get the ball over the net.
The spring of the trampoline allows tricks and flips to be a common theme in this highly entertaining spectacle.
The perfect combination of brains and brawn. Chess Boxing is fought over 11 rounds, alternating between three minutes of boxing and three minutes of speed chess.
The first ever match took place in Berlin in 2003, and since then the sport has reached unbelievable heights.
Chess Boxing is now officially a professional sport that has a growing following, especially in Germany, Great Britain, Russia and India.
A boxer/chess player can be victorious by either knockout or checkmate, where your ego is either shattered physically or mentally.
Horses have an undeniable elegance when it comes to Equestrian events, with the choreographed dances of the Dressage to the obstacle leaps of Show-Jumping.
Equestrian events have been an integral part of the Olympic Games since the 1900 games in Paris.
Now imagine the same events, with a Rabbit.
Kaninhop, or simply Rabbit Jumping, was invented in Sweden in the 1970s. The sport sees Rabbit’s get put through their paces in a series of events covering a variety of distances and obstacle heights.
The U.S. Rabbit Agility Association now recognizes 50 rabbit show jumping clubs throughout Scandinavia, with the current longest jump record for a Rabbit being set in Denmark, at three metres.
Sounds painful right? Shin Kicking was invented back in the 1600s as a way to protest the increasing popularity of Puratinism- a protestant belief during Elizabethan England.
The sport has evolved since, providing less violence and more comedy.
The aim of the game is to kick your opponent in the shin, with the person causing their opponent to fall over the most is the victor.
To help prevent bloody and bruised shins, participants are allowed to stuff hay down their trousers to help soften the blow.
Created in Finland, Wife Carrying has developed into a rather serious sport with events taking place all over the globe.
Male contestants must race 253 metres- the length of almost three football pitches- with their wives strapped to their back.
What was initially created for a joke, Wife Carrying has now expanded, with competitions specifically for same-sex marriages now available to enter.
A well-pressed shirt is always nice to have, but would your average person classify ironing as a sport? Arguably not.
An idea to create an extreme version of the ‘house chore’ was initiated in Leicester in 1997 combining the thrill of a location with the dullness of the act.
In 2011, tenor Jason Blair ironed a shirt on the M1 motorway, while freediver Roland Piccoli ironed a T-Shirt at a depth of 42 metres, in the world’s deepest pool in Italy.
The possibilities are endless. The world is your ironing board.
1..2..3..4, I declare a toe war?
Similar to arm wrestling, players must take off their shoes and socks to therefore link toes with each players foot touching flat on their opponents.
The aim is to pin your opponent for a count of three- just like amateur wrestling- in a best of three formats.
The first game always starts with the right foot, followed by the left foot and then the right foot again if there is a tie.
Originating in Staffordshire, Toe Wrestling’s top stars include current world champion Alan ‘Nasty’ Nash and Paul Beech, who is aptly nicknamed 'The Toeminater'.
Sauna World Championships
This is quite possibly the most ridiculous out of all the sports on this list.
The Sauna World Championships were an annual endurance event played in Finland from 1999 to 2010.
Six men and women would sit in specific positions of a sauna, with a starting temperature of 110 degrees, the aim is to simply remain in the sauna for as long as possible. The last person remaining is victorious.
Every 30 seconds half a pint of water was poured on the stove meaning the temperature would continue to increase.
The heat proved too much in 2010 when former finalist Vladimir Ladyzhensky passed out suffering terrible burns and trauma. Ladyzhensky was dragged out of the sauna but died despite resuscitation.
The championships were, unsurprisingly, dropped after this tragic incident.
Initially just a huge event in the city of Gloucester, the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling has fast become a worldwide attended spectacle.
From the top of a steep hill, a nine pounds round Double Gloucester cheese is sent plummeting with competitors battling it out to be the first to the bottom, letting the cheese be there guide.
Although the aim is to catch the cheese, not only does the Double Gloucester have a one-second head start, but the cheese can reach speeds of 70 miles per hour.
The event takes its name from the ‘Cheese Rollers’- a local pub just three miles away from where the event takes place- and has been a part of Gloucestershire culture since 1995.
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