Tab’s World Of Weird Sports
And you thought Quidditch was weird.
News emerged last week that Cambridge University has formed a quidditch team. Whilst its aims for blues status are unlikely to be fulfilled and its claims to be a sport are dubious there is no doubting that Quidditch has its enthusiasts. Tab sports has scoured the net for other odd and questionable sports.
This is a sport that, unsurprisingly, is played “professionally” in America although a few Swedes have been known to blaze a trail on the International circuit. Mini-golf was a popular sport during the depression as players constructed courses out of pretty much anything to hand. After the twenties and thirties the sport went into something of a decline.
However, with the nineties came a huge increase in interest in golf and mini-golf enthusiasts were able to tap into this. The World Minigolf Federation now organizes yearly championships for youth and elite players. In America the miniature golf National Championship has been broadcast for four years on ESPN with high ratings.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
In 2002 the World Rock, Paper, Scissors society standardized a set of rules for international play and since then has overseen annual World championships. The sport, as expected, is popular in America and since 2004 the WRPS championships have been broadcast on Fox Sports network. The US tournaments or USARPS are sponsored by Bud light and take place in Las Vegas. Facebook has got in on the act and the Red Bull World Series is an app which allows contestants to play RPS online.
The sport is perhaps one of the greatest national jokes. It is believed that wife-carrying was inspired by the now defunct Finnish tradition where men courted women by running to their village, picking up a fit one, and carrying them off. The sport is now a relatively popular event with participants from countries as far off as Japan. The aim is for the male to carry the female along a purposely built obstacle course without the female’s feet touching the floor in the fastest time. In true Finnish lad style beer is consumed at various points and the prize is often the wife’s weight in beer.
From the country that gave the world wife-carrying and mobile phone throwing comes the World Sauna endurance championships. Held annually in Heinola, Finland and first organised in 1999 the event has grown bigger every year and now has competitors from over 20 countries. The sport takes place in saunas with a starting temperature of 110 degrees Celsius and a litre of water is poured on the stove every 30 seconds. The winner is the last person to exit the sauna unaided.
Competitors take part at their own risk and must sign a form not to take action against the organisers. In 2009 home favourite Timo Kaukonen won the men’s event Russia’s Tatyana Arkipenko winning the women’s event. 150 competitors took part.
A hybrid of two sports chess boxing is the brainchild of cartoonist Enki Bilal who featured it in many of his comic strips. The sport is now governed by the World Chess Boxing organisation (WCBO). The first world championship was held in Amsterdam in 2003 and the eventual winner was Iepe Rubingh. Competitors must be both high-class boxers and skilled chess players. For example, European champion Tihomir Dovramadjiev is a FIDE master with a rating of over 2300. The sport is gaining popularity in England and there is an internationally recognised chess boxing club in London.