Weird World of Sports

Ever thought waterpolo was a weird concept? Questioned why handball is an Olympic sport? As for synchronised swimming…  let’s not even go there.

Well, a word of advice before we continue: put all your preconceptions, sporting biases and professional elitism aside. What you’re about to read throws that all out of the water and takes a rather…  erm… ‘unique’ perspective on what constitutes athletic prowess.

We’ve discovered a whole range of sporting championships to satisfy your competitive urges throughout the month of August. And, while these aren’t exactly ‘conventional’ per se (in fact, most of them are downright weird), we’re ready to give them a shot. The question is: are you?

Mobile Phone Throwing Championships

When? 14 August 2011
Where? Battersea Park, London
Umm… what? Oh dear. It seems even the iPhone 4 cannot quell an overriding urge for cellular destruction. Or, more specifically, the desire to chuck your old phone as far as you possibly can. Hence we have events like the 2011 Mobile Phone Throwing Championships. And yes folks, it’s just as it sounds.

Having been started in 2004 by sport and adventure club 8th Day UK, the event is still going strong today, with categories now available for men’s, women’s and under 12s phone throwing. Last year it was Jeremy Gallop who channelled Naomi Campbell to defend his title for a second year running. Let’s see if he can do it again.

Sumo Suit Athletics World Championships

When? 13 August 2011 (1-6pm)
Where? Battersea Park Athletics Track, London
What the hell? Oh goodness, Battersea Park really is going to come alive on Saturday 13August. Not only will people be chucking phones, they will also be running around in sumo suits. That’s right, this year heralds the fourth anniversary of Sumo Suit Athletics World Championships, another event organised by 8th Day UK (honestly, where do they get these ideas from?!). The tagline of this particular competition is “slower, lower, weaker” – unsurprising considering participants will be weighed down by 11kg of extra weight as they participate in the 100m sprint, long jump, high jump, and ‘endurance’ 400m.

Backward Running Championships

When? Sunday 17 July 2011 (from 10am) / Sunday 14 August
Where? Crystal Palace Park, London / Heaton Park, Manchester
Err… why? Apparently backward running is exercise’s best kept secret, with one backwards lap equivalent to six laps forward. In 2011, visitors to Manchester will be able to make the most of this hot tip by entering the first annual Backward Running Championships. And, odd as it may sound, this sport has a pretty strong following across mainland Europe despite keeping a low profile in the UK itself. Keen on reaping those health benefits? Why not book a hostel in Manchester and enter online via Active Network.

Air Guitar World Championships

When? 24-27 August 2011
Where? Oulu, Finland
Really? Really?! Yes, really. In fact, the Air Guitar World Championships in Finland will this year be celebrating its 16th anniversary. Contestants must progress through two rounds – at first playing one-minute of a jury-selected guitar hit, followed by their own choice of song. As for the rules? Be original, be charismatic, be creative, and show some classic rock star spunk. Perfect for those who dream of being Jimmy Hendrix… but don’t actually know how to play the guitar. Do you fit the mould? Book a hostel in Finland and give it your best shot.

World Bog Snorkelling Championships

When? 28 August 2011 (from 10am)
Where? Waen Rhydd Bog, Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales
Okay… seriously? A bizarre art if ever there was one, the World Bog Snorkelling Championship involves a race to complete two lengths of the specially cut 60m Waen Rhydd Bog. Lovely. First held in 1985, the event was (perhaps unsurprisingly) the result of a rather drunken conversation at a local pub. And yet, it’s still going today, with all proceeds donated to a local charity and good cause. Want a hot tip? Apparently the key to this bizarre sport involves ‘gliding’ through thick water rather than attempting any form of recognisable swimming. Riiight. Book a hostel in Wales and check it out for yourself!

Thanks to Ross Williams from 8th Day UK and dansays for the images off Flickr. Please note, all images were suitable for use at the time of publication according to the Creative Commons License.

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