Unusual Sports

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Looking for something different to do this weekend? Grab yourself a bottle of Sunny D and try one of these strange sports. They are all real, though not to be taken too seriously… 

Toe Wrestling

First played in 1974, today the World Toe Wrestling Championship is held in Derbyshire every year. The game is played with bare feel. Contestants lock toes and attempt to ‘pin’ (capture or trap) the other person’s foot for three seconds, first with the right foot, then the left. Traditionally played outside a pub.  

Bed Racing

Fancy putting on fancy dress, running up a grassy bank, through parkland, up steep hills and along cobbled roads. Then swimming across the notoriously cold Nidd river, all the while pushing a bed, complete with a passenger or two? Then you need to enter the annual Knaresborough Bed Race, organized by the Knaresborough Lions Club. It was first staged in 1966 and is still going strong.


What do you get if you combine a chess game with a boxing match? Chessboxing, of course. This unusual sport alternates chess with boxing. All rounds are three minutes long and an entire chessboxing fight lasts for eleven rounds, beginning and ending with chess. The first competition was held in Berlin in 2003. It is now played in countries across Europe including the UK.


If you’ve ever wanted to be a hamster you may need to try zorbing. This involves getting inside a giant hamster ball and rolling down a hill. Why, you may ask? Well it is an ‘ex-hill-erating’ experience according to the official website. This view is obviously shared by many people as zorbing began in New Zealand in the 1990s and quickly spread around the world.

Extreme Ironing

‘An outdoor activity that combines the danger and excitement of an “extreme” sport with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt,’ according to the Team Steam website. Someone even made a documentary about it. Locations where extreme ironing has taken place (normally while raising funds for charity) include a mountain top, in a canoe, in the middle of the M1, and on a frozen lake.


Take volleyball, football, gymnastics and capoeira, and you end up with bossaball. Each team consists of four or five players. The aim is simple. As in volleyball each team tries to keep the ball off the ground and bat it, using their hands, over the net. Add music, trampolines, and a ‘samba referee’ who helps things along with a microphone, whistle, and musical instruments and you have bossaball. Sounds like fun!