20 weird sports around the world that you’ve probably never heard of

20 weird sports around the world that you’ve probably never heard of

Playing or watching sports is one way that brings unity within a community. The world has numerous sports that people engage in, from football, basketball, and athletics, to mention a few. Certain sports are considered unusual due to their extreme nature and limited presence in certain regions. Here is a look at weird sports in different parts of the world.

Weird sports around the world
Photo: @NewMexico, @footballzorbing, @Velocityskatingclub on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Sports have been around for centuries, and most people know about mainstream sports such as soccer, tennis, rugby etc. But did you know that other than popular sports, there are many wired sports? You might have yet to hear about several of these unusual sports. Have a look are these 20 weird sports around the world that you've probably never heard of.

20 weird sports around the world

Sports are a popular form of entertainment and competition around the world. While some sports are universally recognized and enjoyed, there are many unusual and bizarre sports that are played in different parts of the world. Some of them include:

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1. Shovel Racing

Weird sports around the world
Photo: @NewMexico on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Place of origin: USA

Shovel Racing is one of the weird sports in the world. This sport borrows the concept of sledging, but instead of the sledge, one uses a shovel. Like other strange sports, shovel racing started oddly. Workers at a New Mexico ski resort in the '70s used shovels to move from one point to point quickly. This sport made it to the winter X games in 1997 but was stopped for safety reasons.

2. Fireball soccer

Weird sports around the world
Muslims seen playing a soccer game using a fireball made from a coconut from a palm tree soaked in kerosene on October 01, 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo: Jefta Images
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: United Kingdom

Fireball soccer makes the cut on the list of the weirdest sports in the world. This game started in the United Kingdom in 1297. It is precisely what you expect, kerosene-soaked coconut on fire. Players are barefoot when playing this game, as if that is not enough. Standard soccer rules apply, and whoever scores the most goals wins.

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3. Wife-carrying

Craziest sports
Competitors take part in the 2018 Wife Carrying Race in Dorking, Surrey, England on April 8, 2018. Photo: Isabel Infantes
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: Finland

This popular sport is a worthy addition to the most obscure sports list. Although wife-carrying is not necessarily a serious sport, competitors take it seriously. Every year, the wife-carrying championship is held in Finland.

The goal of the race is for men to carry their wives over their shoulders through a 250m track. The participants are expected to tackle one wet and two dry obstacles. The couple with the fastest time wins.

4. Extreme ironing

Most obscure sports
David Fitzgerald, irons a pair of boxer shorts during the free-style section of the Extreme Ironing World Championships held near Munich in Germany, Saturday September 21 2002. Photo: Johnny Green
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: England

Extreme ironing is one of the most bizarre sports in the world. Participants of this game take their ironing boards to a remote location and compete to iron clothes. Extreme ironing is more of an exhibition than a completive, as the best-ironed shirt wins the game. It originated in 1997 in Leicester by a guy called Phil Shaw.

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5. Camel jumping

Bizarre sports
A Yemeni man leaps over a two camels during the opening ceremony of the Sanaa Summer Festival in the capital Sanaa on August 18, 2013. Photo: Mohammed Huwais
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: Yemen

This is one of the oldest weird sports in the world. Professional camel jumpers use their speed and strength to move over as many camels as possible. It is practised by the Zaraniq tribe in western Yemen, although PETA has not approved it.

6. Chess boxing

World's weirdest sports
Chess Boxing at Munich Boxwerk. Photo: sampics
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: Germany

Chess boxing is among the world's weirdest sports. The sport was invented by Dutch performance artist Lepe Rubingh who got the idea in a French graphic novel. The novel was written in 1992 by Enki Bilal in his comic book Froid Equateur. This game needs brain and brawn which often leads to head trauma. The sport has gained many fans in Germany, India, Russia, and the UK.

7. Quidditch

Weird sports around the world
11 June 2022, Lower Saxony, Hanover: Players of the Bröwicorns in action on the pitch. Quidditch is a contact sport played in mixed-gender teams. Photo: Michael Matthey
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: United Kingdom

Quidditch was first popularized in the famous Harry Potter series. The sport is weird as it was meant to be played while competitors are seated on flying broomsticks. However, in the real world, it is played on a hockey field, and it is called muggle quidditch because muggles are the non-magic folk. Quidditch has made it into the professional leagues in the United Kingdom, making it in continental and international competitions.

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8. Man vs Horse Marathon

Craziest sports
Runners and riders compete in the Man v Horse Marathon powered by Whole Earth Peanut Butter on June 14, 2014 in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales. Photo: Whole Earth Peanut Butter
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: Wales

This sport started in 1979 in Welsh to settle a pub argument where locals wondered who would win a race between man and horse. From that time, a marathon race of 22 miles (35.4 km) is held in Wales involving horses and men. The horses have won most of the races, although men have won twice, taking home a $40,000 cash prize.

9. Bird song contest

Most obscure sports
Men carry birds in a gilded cage in the playground of the school Henry Agarande, during a song contest in the French overseas department of Guiana, on November 28, 2020. Photo: Jody Amiet
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: Belgium

The Bird Song Contest is one of the strangest sports ever invented. This is because this sport almost defies description. As the name suggests, this competition is between birds to see which tweets the most at a given period. The goldfinches are primarily used, and this sport has been rocked by doping scandals recently.

10. Shin-kicking

Bizarre sports
The shin-kicking championships, one of the events during the Cotswold Olimpicks 2014, taking place near Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire. Photo: Anna Lythgoe
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: England

The shin-kicking sport originates from Wales, proving England is a hotbed for weird sports. All you need to participate is four shins and a high pain tolerance. As the name suggests, participants kick one another's shins until one is on the ground or calls out 'sufficient.' It was one Cotswold Olimpick games held annually in the UK until the 1850s.

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11. Sepak takraw

World's weirdest sports
Myanmar's Ya Mone Zin (L) kicks a shot in the sepaktakraw match against Malaysia during the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Hanoi on May 16, 2022. Photo: Nhac Nguyen
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: Asia

Sepak takraw is a popular sport in Southeast Asia and even started making inroads in the US in the '80s. This action-packed game is like volleyball, but players use their feet, knees and chest to pass the ball around.

Sepak takraw is played on a court the size of a badminton court and involves two teams with three players each. This game has gone global, with the International Sepak takraw Federation holding competitions with teams from over a hundred countries.

12. Cheese-Rolling and Wake

Weird sports around the world
Competitors in the Cheese Rolling on Cooper's Hill race near Brockworth, Gloucestershire on Monday May 26, 2014. Photo: Tim Ireland
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: England

This is one of the strangest sports that takes place annually at Cooper's Hill near Gloucester. A round of Double Gloucester Cheese is rolled from the hilltop, and competitors chase it. Although the idea is to catch the cheese is near impossible as it can reach a speed of up to 70 mph. This means the first person to cross the finish line wins the cheese. Playing a game like this needs both speed and balance.

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13. Dog surfing

Craziest sports
A dog rides on a board as hundreds of surfers make their way to the end of the Huntington Beach Pier on Saturday, August 28, 2021 in Huntington Beach. Photo: Mark Rightmire
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: California

Although weird, Dog surfing is one the cutest sport of all. This sport has caught the attention of many people recently, although it started in the 1920s. It originated in San Diego and has quickly spread to other parts of America and Australia. The dogs are trained to stay upright with their owner on a surfboard in the ocean. Surf City Surf Dog Competition is an annual competition held since 2009 in Huntington Beach, California.

14. Buzkashi

World's weirdest sports
Horse riders of Turkiye and Kyrgyzstan compete during a Buzkashi competition within the 4th World Nomad Games on September 29, 2022. Photo: Emin Sansar
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: Afghanistan

Buzkashi is among the most bizarre sports in the world. This game is not for the fainthearted as it is translated to "goat dragging". A team of riders compete to drag the carcass of a dead goat to a predetermined goal. To make things weirder, whips are added, and things can be a little nasty. The team that gets to the destination first wins the game.

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15. Zorbing

Bizarre sports
Children have a go at zorbing in inflatable plastic spheres on the water at Gunwharf Quays on August 12, 2013 in Portsmouth, England. Photo by Oli Scarf
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: New Zealand

Zorbing was invented in 1994 in New Zealand and has now spread to Canada, Australia, Japan and the US. It is a sport that involves rolling an orb downhill. The orb is transparent plastic and moves through the water and other obstacles. Some people take it as an extreme sport, and others use it as a recreational or team building activity.

16. Redneck Games

Most obscure sports
Barbara Braswell, takes part in the Mud Pit Belly Flop contest during the 14th Annual Summer Redneck Games July 10, 2010 in East Dublin, Georgia. Photo: Stephen Morton
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: United States

This sport has been held every summer in East Dublin, Georgia, since 1996. It is an athletic game involving unique sports. Some competitions include toilet seat tossing, mud belly flops, seed spitting, dumpster diving and armpit serenades.

17. Limbo

Craziest sports
Tracy O'Callaghan, world-record lowest Limbo Rollerskater (Guinness Book Of Records).Tracey O'Callaghan practising at the home, 365 Stoney creek road, Kings grove. Photo: Adrian Greer Michael Short
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: Belgium

Limbo skating is one of the craziest sports you may not have heard about. This game is exactly as the name suggests and combines limbo and skating. Competitors attempt to limbo under different obstacles while moving fast on roller-skates. In 2021 a 7-year-old set a new limbo skating record of 13.74 seconds.

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18. Underwater hockey

Weird sports around the world
Players fighting for the puck during an underwater hockey training session ahead of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines. Photo: Mohd Rasfan
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: England

Participants hold their breath as they manoeuvre a puck along the bottom of a pool into the opposing team's goal. In this sport, two teams push a puck with a stick underwater to the opposing goalmouth. Octopush's World Championship was first held in 1980 and has been played.

19. Bo-Taoshi

Place of origin: Japan

Bo-Taoshi is a Japanese sport that pits two teams of 75 players against each other to bring down the opponent's team's pole. When lowered more than 30 degrees, the pole is also a point. Best communication skills are vital to winning this game.

20. Toe wrestling

World's weirdest sports
People compete in a toe wrestling competition at a water park on July 11, 2018 in Chongqing, China. Photo: Visual China Group
Source: Getty Images

Place of origin: England

This sport is like its sister sport, arm wrestling. It involves two people locking their feet and attempting to pin the opponent's foot down. This crazy thing is that this game was started in a pub by four drinking buddies. A toe wrestling world championship has been held in Welton since 1994 with classifications of men, women, and youths.

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Above are some of the weird sports around the globe that you can explore. Next time you are looking for a crazy game with your friends, pick from any of the above list and have fun. However, before engaging in any of these sports, have insurance and understand the rules of the game.

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Authors:
Naomi Karina avatar

Naomi Karina (Lifestyle writer) Naomi Karina has been a digital content writer for more than two years. She joined the Legit team in August 2022. She graduated Bachelor of Commerce from KCA University in 2012. She also holds a Higher Diploma in Human Resources from the IHRM and a Diploma in Marketing from Kenyatta University. She is a content creator who enjoys writing about various topics such as biographies, entertainment and business. In 2023, Naomi finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. She expanded her skills in 2024 by undertaking the Google News Initiative course.

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