The Strangest Sports from Around the World


Pretty much everyone knows of tennis, basketball, cricket or football. But did you know there are a number of more unusual sports that can be found throughout the world?

Below is my list of the top ten strangest sports that are pushing the boundaries of normality.

  1. Brazil: Footvolley

This alternative version of volleyball started in Brazil in 1965. Footvolley requires players to use their feet instead of their hands to play the game, making it rather physically challenging as participants have limited control of the ball.

  1. China: Cricket Fighting

Cricket fighting is a traditional Chinese sport which dates back more than 1,000 years. It involves two male crickets being placed into a small fighting area in which they battle it out. The cricket which is more aggressive during the fight is deemed the champion fighter. Cricket fighting even has a two-day national championship that’s held annually in Beijing.

Crickets fight one another in China. Photo by Tutorming.
  1. Italy: Cacio al Fuso 

Cacio al Fuso is a pretty straightforward game. The traditional Italian cheese rolling competition involves teams rolling their cheese wheels to the centre target, with the cheese that lands closest awarded as the winner.

Locals engage in a cheese rolling competiton in Italy. Photo by Pienza.
  1. Australia: Cane Toad Racing

Who knew that one of Australia’s biggest environmental pests would be the face of a local sport? These poisonous creatures are raced by human participants, in which the owners blow on the toads to force them to the edge of the ring. There a number of pubs across the nation that run cane toad racing in which people are encouraged to buy or bet on a toad – similar to horse racing.

  1. Germany: Kastenlauf

Kastenlauf is a ‘beer crate-running’ drinking sport that involves teams racing on foot along routes ranging between 5 to 12 kilometres long – all while carrying a crate of beer. The number one rule of this sport is that all beer must be consumed before reaching the finishing line. 

A group of men engaging in Kastenlauf. Photo by Ballecourbe.
  1. Indonesia: Sepak Bola Api

Also known as ‘fireball soccer’, this sport is usually played to welcome the month of Ramadan. It involves a soccer ball being substituted for a coconut that is soaked in kerosene and then lit. Players are covered in non-flammable salt and spices as participants play the game with their bare feet.

A more firey version of soccer. Photo by Ytimg.
  1. India: Mallakhamb

Mallakhamb is an authentic traditional Indian sport in which gymnasts perform a number of yoga poses on a vertical wooden pole. It has been a thriving sport for over 200 years, with its initial purpose to aid fitness, but now the sport is commonly considered an art form, even performed on Georgia’s Got Talent!

A gymnast executes a pose. Photo by Dnaindia.
  1. Finland: Wife-carrying

Wife-carrying involves male participants carrying their female teammate through an obstacle course in the fastest time possible. The sport started in Finland in the early 1990’s and competitions have since found their place across the world. The 23rd annual World Wife-Carrying Championship recently occurred, where a Lithuanian couple were deemed champions against 53 other teams.

Men stride through the water with their female teammates. Photo by Cloudfront.
  1. Japan: Bo-taoshi

The somewhat chaotic and lively sport Bo-taoshi is considered to be the human version of the game ‘capture the flag.’ Bo-taoshi involves two teams of 75 (one attacking and one defensive team) who fight one another for a pole. Bo-taoshi is commonly played at major festivals, school sporting events and on cultural celebration days throughout Japan.

A human pyramid formation demonstrated within Japan’s game Bo-taoshi. Photo by Ytimg.
  1. England: Extreme Ironing

Founded in 1997, extreme ironing involves people ironing their clothes in unconventional outdoor locations. From cliff edges to boats to forests to the underwater – extreme ironing is done in the most random (and sometimes dangerous) places you could think of.

Participants take their ironing skills under water. Photo by Coolofthewind.

So there’s my top ten weird sports from around the world. Know of another sport that you think should’ve made the list? Leave a comment below.



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