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7 Unusual Sports You’ve Never Heard Of

Unusual Sports | We played and made up all kinds of games as kids. In fact, when the ground I used to play cricket on got flooded during the rains, it was full of small fish. Since cricket wasn’t an option, we’d catch fish (alive) and whoever caught the most would be deemed the winner. Having tadpoles in your lot would lead to loss of points. 

Though we started out catching with old dabbas, a few seasons in, we were so skilled at the ‘sport’ that we would catch the fish with our bare hands. While none of us planned on getting the game global or starting/contacting a governing body for the same, here is a list of obscure, unusual sports, just as absurd if not more, which have actually made it as official sports in the world.

7. Extreme Ironing

Source: Wikimedia commons

Governed by the Extreme Ironing Bureau, the sport involves going to remote locations and ironing a piece of clothing. The body explains it as “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt”.

The locations where the sport has been conducted have been on mountain tops, underwater and on top of telephone booths among others. 

6. Quidditch

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Quidditch from Harry Potter is a sport we all dreamt as kids. Inspired by the same, real life Quidditch is a little different. However, all players are to be on their brooms at all times. 

Also referred to as Muggle Quidditch, International Quidditch Association (IQA) defines the rules of the game. Played with a tennis ball, one volleyball and three slightly deflated dodge balls, the game requires the scorers of the team to put the volleyball through the hoops of the opposite team.

The snitch is a neutral player running with the tennis ball attached to a velcro tail. The snitch is released at the 20th minute. Whoever catches the ball will get 35 points as opposed to the 10 points for putting the quaffle (volleyball) through the hoops.

The bludgers (dodge balls) are used by the defenders to keep the scorers away from the hoops. Whoever gets hit with a bludger has to drop whatever ball they’re holding.

5. Elephant Polo

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Imagine Polo, but slower and bigger. The players and the respective mahouts sit on elephants in the sport of Elephant Polo. While the mahout takes orders from the player about which way to go, the latter hits the ball with a 10 foot cane with a polo mallet head at the end of it. The rules are governed by the World Elephant Polo Association and the championships take place at the headquarters in Tiger Tops, Nepal.

4. Toe Wrestling

Source: Flickr

The game that we used to play in school every time the teacher went out of the classroom, but harder. Similar to arm wrestling, toe wrestling is a sport where opponents lock each others’ feet and try to pin the other person’s feet down. The game originated in the UK in 1974 among 4 drinkers and garnered enough popularity that it has become an actual sport with its own rules and regulations.

3. Buzkashi

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The national sport of Afghanistan, Buzkashi involves men, horses and a carcass of a goat. Each team has 6 members riding on horses, trying to get the carcass to the circle of truth (a circle marked on the ground with chalk, which acts as a goal post or hoop). While the game is violent, it’s greatly enjoyed by all in the country and in certain parts of China and Kazakhstan among other Asian countries. The inclusion of the carcass definitely makes the game one of the most unusual sports of all.  

2. Chess Boxing

Source: Wikimedia Commons

It is quite common to hear people say that big people have smaller brains, especially from smaller people like myself. While this is merely to make themselves feel better, the sport of Chess Boxing puts this expression to test. Opponents alternate between chess and boxing with every round and one might win by checkmate or knockout.

1. Cardboard Tube Duelling

Source: FlickR, Helen Cook

Remember whacking everyone as kids with the leftover tube from wrapping paper for fun? This game is exactly that, but with rules. Players will be disqualified if they block or fight with their arms. Whoever keeps their tube unbroken till the end wins the match. If both the tubes break at the same time, the match is a draw.

Pratheek Suryadev