Top 10 Crazy Sports from Around the World - OpenPlay's Collection of Bizarre Sports

The world really is a strange place. Nothing exemplifies this more than the bizarre world of sport. Here is a collection of our top 10 weird sports from around the world. They range from the whacky cheese rolling championship held in Gloucester, manly wife carrying in Finland, grim bog snorkelling championships to the truly weird man versus horse marathon in Wales.

1. Royal Shrovetide Football - Ashbourne, Derbyshire, UK

Shrovetide football used to be played with a 'severed head' in the 12th century... Essentially a cross between rugby and football, Shrovetide football has been played in the village of Ashbourne, Derbyshire (UK) since the 12th century. With two goals approximately 3 miles apart, a team scores when the ball is tapped 3 times against a millstone, in the area of each of the goals. The game lasts for two days over shrove Tuesday and ash Wednesday with play beginning at 2pm and ending by 10pm each day. Whilst a football like ball is used nowadays, it was said that the game was originally played with a ?severed head? following an execution... The rules are sketchy, mainly because there aren't really any. Committing murder or manslaughter is prohibited, whilst violence is frowned upon, but otherwise the hoards of players are free to use any means possible to get the ball in the goal...aside from ?motorised vehicles? or ?rucksacks?. Play often ends up in muddy ditches, rivers and essentially anywhere between the two goalposts, apart from graveyards which are prohibited. Why not join in a game sometime. You can find out more about playing

Shrovetide Football in Ashbourne here. The cheese can travel at up to 112km/h, with competitors risking life and limb in the annual cheese rolling championships in Gloucester

2. Cheese Rolling - Faster than a speeding cheddar? Cooper's Hill, Gloucestershire, UK

The annual Cheese-Rolling Festival takes place on Cooper's hill in Gloucestershire on the late spring bank holiday monday at 12pm sharp. We love the idea of cheese rolling as all you need is: 1. a decent sized chunk of cheese 2. a hill 3. some crazy competitors to chase after it. It's as simple is that. The way it works is that from the top of Cooper's Hill, a sizeable round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled and competitors chase after it. The first individual across the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins (the cheese of course). Competitors aim to catch the rolling cheese but this rarely happens. This is mainly because the cheese has a one second head start and can reach speeds of up to 112 km/hr. Aside from the likelihood of extensive injuries to participants, in 1997, the cheese took a wrong turn down the hill and accidentally injured a spectator. Reports suggested that they were absolutely cheddared. As a result there has been a revamp of the health and safety aspect of the event, which is now held informally rather than officially. For further information about entering the annual Cheese Rolling Festival in Gloucestershire, click here Video of the Annual Cheese Rolling Championships in Colliers Hill, Gloucestershire

3. Chess Boxing - Combining Brains and Brawn

If you're looking for a sport that combines using your strength as well as intelligence, then chess boxing is for you. The sport is a combination of boxing and chess with the different games alternating after each round. The basic idea in chessboxing is to combine the no.1 thinking sport and the no.1 fighting sport into a hybrid sport that physically and mentally demands the most of its competitors. We guess you can kind of understand where they're coming from but surely if you are good at boxing you just knock your opponent out without having to worry about the chess? Chess Boxing - Mind over matter or matter over mind...or both? In a chessboxing fight the contest starts with a round of chess, followed by a boxing round, followed by another round of chess and so on. There are 11 rounds in total, 6 rounds of chess and 5 rounds of boxing. The rounds of chess take 4 minutes and each competitor has 12 minutes on their chess timer.  The ultimate winner of the battle is decided by: checkmate (chess round), exceeding the time limit (chess round), retirement of an opponent (chess or boxing round), KO (boxing round), or referee decision (boxing round). The sport is governed by the World Chess Boxing Organization whose motto is: ?Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board? For further information check out the world Chess Boxing Organisation here.

Video Guide to the Intriguing World of Chess Boxing. The Bog Snorkelling Championships take place in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales and involves snorkeling in a smelly peat bog

4. Bog Snorkeling - Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales

Bog snorkelling is exactly as it sounds, it involves swimming, with a mask, snorkle and flipppers, in a smelly peat bog in Wales. To be honest it sounds absolutely horrendous.  Competitors can only complete the course by swimming with their flippers and not using traditional swimming techniques. How someone came up with this or even decided that this was a good idea, we do not know. However its popularity has remained high since its inception. The World Bog Snorkelling Championships take place every August Bank Holiday in a dense peat bog near Llanwrtyd Wells, in Wales.  100's of competitors from all over the world brave the stench, mud and faeces in what is surely one of the strangest sports know to man. The current World Champion in an amazing time of 1 minute 24.22 seconds, is Andrew Holmes from Yorkshire. The testosterone fueled world wife carrying championships allow husbands to showcase their love for their wives...

5. Eukonkanto aka 'Wife Carrying' - Finland

Wife-carrying is taken to whole a new level in Finland - it actually becomes reality.   Burly men heave their wives onto their backs and race through an obstacle course complete with freezing water just in case carrying your wife wasn't enough. Presumably having to listen to their wives moan makes them run even faster. Whilst wife carrying started through boredom in the little town of Sonkajärvi, in Eastern Finland, it's now a serious contest. The 2001 wife-Carrying Championship attracted competitors from ten countries and more than 5,000 spectators. The rules say the "wife" that gets carried can be your own, a friend's or pretty much any woman you can find over the age or 17. The competitors dash down a 250-meter track, with two jumps and a water trap. One thing you shouldn't do is drop your wife. Doing so not only incurs a 15-second penalty but more severely can lead to husbands being in the supper for a week is common. The prize of winning? The weight of your wife in beer, fantastic if your wife is Venessa Feltz... Buzkashi involves two teams trying to place a dead goat in a tub. This surely must be the strangest sport of all time?

6. Buzkashi - Afghanistan, Turkmenistan

Buzkashi is the national sport of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and pretty much all the other Central Asian 'stans'. Name a country ending in stan and Buzkashi is probably the national sport. This peculiar game involves a large sprall of men on horseback tearing around a large arena, trying to wrestle a goat carcass from each other.  To sum it up, it's kind of like polo, but without sticks, a goat carcass serves as the 'ball' and a tub or line serves as a makeshift 'goal'. To be honest, we're not sure there's a sport quite like it. The object of the game is for the two mounted teams to try and throw the dead goat over a goal line or into a tub. Doing so constitutes scoring a point and the winner is the team that scores the most points. Games can go on for days, or even weeks, probably because it helps alleviate some of the boredom in the places they are held. Play is said to be physical with very few rules, apart from a recent 'no guns' rule. Competitors often wear protective clothing to protect themselves from other riders' boots, whips and punches. You can see a video of the crazy sport of Buzkashi here The man versus horse race started through a drunken conversation in a Welsh pub

7. Man versus Horse Marathon - Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, UK

Believe it or not, a drunken conversation in a Welsh pub in 1980 between two animated men led to the creation of this extraordinary annual race between you guessed it, horses and men. The heated argument was based on whether a man good beat a horse in a race. This was overheard by a landlord who decided in typically Welsh fashion that there was only one way to find out - hold an annual event. Taking place in the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells, the man versus horse marathon puts human contestants up against mounted horse contestants. They race cross country over 22 miles of mixed and very hilly terrain, including farm tracks, bridle paths, forestry roads and open moorland. The race has been run each year since 1980, continually attaining new levels of entry and challenges. It took 25 years before a man finally beat a horse, when in 2004 Huw Lobb won in two hours and five minutes, finishing two minutes before the fastest horse. You can find out more about entering the Man versus horse marathon here

8. Eton Wall Game - Eton College, Berkshire, UK

The Eton Wall game is an amalgamation of rugby and football with a wall thrown in to make it downright bizarre. It has been played in one spot at Eton College for over 300 years with famous players including David Cameron, Prince Harry and Boris Johnson. It takes place on a strip of land, with a long, slightly curved wall down one side. It's essentially a minature, posher version of Shrovetide football. The object of the game is for the two teams to try and get the ball into a scoring zone which is pretty simple to be honest. In theory the players then kick the ball against a target (a garden door for one team and a tree for the other). As far as we can gather, there really aren't any particular skills to the game and it usually results in a mass scrum of hysterical public school boys. Although the game is usually watched by the whole school and spectators alike, if you're expecting goals then you're probably out of luck...the last goal was scored in 1909.

9. Toe Wrestling, Derbyshire, UK

Wanting to dip your toe into sport? Well you can literally do just that, toe wrestling is not only a popular activity for children it is now a competitive sport. The idea for a toe wrestling competition like the infamous man versus horse marathon, was concocted in a pub over a drunken conversation. This time the pub was in Derbyshire. Local Derbyshire folk obviously bored of waiting for Shrovetide football thought it would be a great idea to hold a competition where individuals lock toes together and force their opponent?s foot to the ground. Based on this light-hearted pub discussion, the inaugural World Toe Wrestling Competition was first held in 1976 and has been going ever since.  Its popularity grew so much that the organisers applied in 1997 to get the sport included in the Olympics. Suffice to say it wasn't accepted, but the plucky organisers remain hopeful of fulfilling their olympic dreams in 2016... 

10. Octopush - Underwater Hockey - Australia

Octopush classes itself as 'underwater hockey' and according to the BOA (British Octopush Association) it's is a supreme aerobic game. It was invented in the early 1950s by sub-aqua divers in Southsea who got bored just swimming up and down pool lanes to get fit and cleverely thought outside the box. It's a non-contact sport where two teams compete to maneuver a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool and in to the opposing ?goal?. It's essentially ice hockey, but underwater and not on ice. When we asked the BOA what the rules of the sport were we were told that it "really isn't rocket science". Unsurprisingly the game has actually become extremely popular in countries like the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. You can find a local Octopush Club here. If you have any more suggestions for truly strange sports, we are all ears - please add a comment below! By Sam Parton

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