| Source: wikipedia.org
THE BLOW of the whistle, the shot of the gun or the wave of the flag, followed by a thunderous cheer of the crowd, commences the game. With the 2016 Olympics held in Rio last month and the upcoming rivalry competition between Yonsei University and Korea University, we can see the sweat, passion, and sometimes tears of athletes competing in some commonly known sports. While nearly every country enjoys the thrilling and dramatic moments in soccer, rugby, basketball or baseball, people also get excited about some unusual competitions.
No wife, no game
Started in Sonkajärvi, Finland, the Wife Carrying competition is a sport in which male competitors carry their wife through a 253.5-meter obstacle course. The course includes different landscapes that vary from dry land to water based obstacles. Carrying their wives in different forms such as the piggyback, fireman's carry (over the shoulder), or Estonian-style (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband's shoulders, holding onto his waist), the male competitors take the crown as the “best husband” by finishing the course in the shortest time. Since 1992, the Wife Carrying World Championships have been held annually in Sonkajärvi, Finland.
There are three ideas on how this sport was invented. It all starts with a man named Hekko Rosvo-Ronkainen, a robber in the late 1800s. Rosvo-Ronkainen and his thieves were accused of stealing food and women from villages in the area he lived in. Then they carried these women on their backs as they ran away. The second idea is that the young man would go to villages and steal other men’s wives, carrying them on their backs. Another idea is that Rosvo-Ronkainen trained other thieves to be “faster and stronger” by carrying big, heavy sacks on their backs.
Both required: the brains and the brawns
Chess-boxing, a hybrid fight sport, combines two traditional sports: chess and boxing. It is the ultimate test of your knowledge and your strength. Lasting up to 11 rounds, the sport is very fast paced as four-minute chess games and two-minute boxing games alternate after each round, waiting for a checkmate or knockout after each match.
Invented by a French artist and filmmaker Enki Bilai, chess-boxing was first introduced through a comic book, Froi Équateur in 1992. The first real event of chess-boxing, however, was organized in 2003 by a Dutch artist, lepe Rubingh.
Bump! Set! Kick!
Very popular in Southeast Asia, and especially in Malaysia and Thailand, Sepak takraw is a sport that only allows players to use their feet, knee, chest and head to touch the ball. However, the sport is less like soccer and more like volleyball. The name literally means “kick ball,” using the Malay word for “kick” and the Thai word for “ball.” The sport also uses a special ball called the rattan ball, constructed of synthetic rubber or covered with soft durable material, which softens the impact of the ball on the player’s body. There are two teams, each composed of three players. The square offs on opposite sides of the court are divided by a net. Players must keep the ball aloft at all times.
The sport, adopted as the official sport of the monarchies, was first played in the 15th century. In fact, this game was played to celebrate the eradication of absolute monarchy in Southeast Asia. In the early years, Sepak takraw was not so much of a competition, but rather a cooperative display of skill. This sport was designed to exercise the body, improve dexterity and loosen the limbs after long periods of sitting, standing or working. However, by the 1940s, the net version of the game had spread throughout Southeast Asia. Gradually, formal rules were introduced, and since then, the game has been played professionally.
Kick the pain away
A kick in the shin and it’s game over. The hard kick on the shin causes a screeching pain that makes us tear up a little. However, in England, this “shin-kicking” is an actual sport.
Shin Kicking, also known as hacking or purring, involves two competitors attempting to kick each other on the shin to force their opponent to the ground. During each round, the competitors face each other and hold on to each other’s collar. Traditionally, they wear white coats, representing shepherds’ smocks. In order to succeed in the competition, players require both agility and the ability to endure pain. If the player cannot handle the pain anymore, he cries out “sufficient!” and the game is over.
Started in the early 17th century in England, the event still draws thousands of spectators today. This sport has been included in the Cotswold Olimpick Games since 1951, and is still considered as one of its most popular events.
The true Iron Man
If ironing at home is not that difficult, the extreme sport and performance art, Extreme Ironing, required players to bring ironing boards to unconventional locations, including the mountainside, a forest, in a canoe, on a ski or a snowboard, on top of large bronze statues, in the middle of a street, underwater, in the middle of the M1 motorway, during a keirin race, whilst parachuting, and under the ice cover of a lake. This dangerous sport combines the thrill of extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-ironed clean shirt.
This extreme sport was started in 1997 in Leicester England by Phill Shaw. Shaw came home after a hard day at work in a knitwear factory, and thought of ways he could combine his job with his hobby, rock climbing. This led to the creation of Extreme Ironing.
The boss of the balls, 4 sports in 1
Bossaball is a sport that incorporates the elements of soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, and Brazilian capoeira. Played on a specially designed inflatable court with a circular trampoline on each side of a net, the ball game involves two teams consisting of three to five players. Only one person from each team can stand on the trampoline on their side, while another player is the attacker and serves the ball. Similar to volleyball, the opposing team has to return the ball back over the net in less than five contacts with the ball. Without a flat surface, the competitors are encouraged to perform aerial acrobatics on the court. This unusual sport was invented by a Belgian Filip Eyckmans, but was first played in Spain in 2004.