Posted on August 18, 2017 by Kim Mead

In this week’s blog I have been tasked with finding some new and captivating sports that are not commonly known by the general public. After some sniffing around, I made a list of the top 5 most uncommon and enthralling sports I’ve come across which I’m pretty certain you have not tried yet:

1. Underwater Rugby

Now this must be quite a breathtaking sport. The idea came from the German Underwater Club in 1961 and has since developed from a standard warm up routine to a national sport being quite popular in northern Europe. The game does partly resemble the standard version, however understandably there is a variety of differences. Each team has 6 players, with an underwater goal at each end of the swimming pool – the aim is to score by sending the ball into the opponents’ goal. Instead of a standard rugby ball which would just float up to the surface, the players use balls filled with saltwater. It “flies” about 2m or 3m before water resistance stops it, making good tactics and good (three-dimensional) positioning to be essential. The players will need all sorts of different abilities such as strength, speed and agility as well as a good amount of cohesion within the team to win against the enemy team (and the water!).

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2. Oil Wrestling

As you can deduct from the name, expect to face slippery opponents! This is actually a national sport in Turkey which is found to be very popular. The sport originated from a training method used by the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire to train Janissaries (elite troops). The players (referred to as pehilvan) wear a special type of hand-stitched leather trouser and are covered in a mixture of olive oil and water prior to the match. In the early days of the sport, the matches did not have a duration limit what meant that they could last up to 1-2 full days; however in 1975 a time limit of 40 minutes was set plus an extra 10-15 minutes if the winner has yet been undecided.

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3. Bed Racing

This sport has been very popular amongst the people of the North Yorkshire Town of Knaresborough and was first introduced in 1965; however, only members of the Navy and American Marines were allowed to participate in the event. Nowadays anyone is allowed to participate in the 3km race which takes the participants through a tough journey involving steep climbs and a 30 yard swim through a river right at the end. Teams are set up in groups of 6 consisting of 5 people pushing the bed and 1 lying on it (sign me up!) and every team is required to bring their own bed decorated in the current year’s theme and with 4 wheels attached and the ability to float on water.

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4. Chess Boxing

This particular sport is a cross breed of chess and boxing and the idea was born in 1992. However the first championships took place in 2003. As the name suggests, the match consists of 6 rounds of chess and 5 rounds of boxing which alternate one after another with 60 second breaks after one of each. The requirements for being allowed to compete professionally are pretty high so you might need quite a bit of practice before going pro – personally I think this is a very interesting combination and I’m sure the matches take a toll both on the mind and the body.

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5. Bog Snorkeling

Definitely my least favourite on the list. This sporting event involves the participants walking a 60 yard trench cut through a peat bog and filled with water, whilst being equipped with flippers and a pair of snorkels. To add an interesting twist, the participants are not allowed to use conventional swimming strokes what means they have to rely purely on their flipper power alone. The championships take place every August in Wales – the sport is known on a national scale and the participants come from all around the World to get their snorkels on.

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Filip Kozlowski, Gym & Spa Operative, Beaufort Park