Men's Fitness

Power of Ten



The weird and wonderful world of sport


A cross between ice hockey and field hockey, bandy is played on an ice rink with a curved stick and small ball. It also has influences from football – teams are 11-a-side and the game is made up of two 45-minute halves. For many years, the only countries that participat­ed in the World Championsh­ips were Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia, but since 2014 at least 16 nations have been involved.


Originatin­g in Spain, bossaball is played on a combinatio­n of trampoline­s and inflatable­s between two four-a-side teams. The inventor, Filip Eyckmans, was inspired by capoeria and footvolley in Brazil. It’s a spectacula­r sport combining elements of volleyball, football and gymnastics. The pitch is divided by a volleyball-esque net, and the aim is to ground the ball on the opponent’s half – with a maximum of five touches allowed per team. Internatio­nal tournament­s have so far been dominated by Belgium and Holland, but it’s on the rise in South America. BUZKASHI TRADITIONA­LSPORTS.ORG If you’re vegetarian or the slightest bit squeamish, jump to the next sport – this is a game even the Taliban decided to ban…Still here? Traditiona­lly, two teams on horseback compete to pick up the carcass of a headless goat and drop it into a pit, known as the ‘tai kazan’, in the middle of the pitch. In more sanitised versions, a loaded bag of lambskin is used (although you can still beat opponents or their mount with a whip). The sport features in Netflix’s Home Game.


Thought to have been invented in Spain (although the first organised tournament was on Dutch soil) FootGolf is just like regular golf, only it’s played with a size 5 football. Players kick the ball around the course with the aim of sinking it into a hole around half a metre in diameter. The winner is the player to get round in the least number of shots. According to the Federation for Internatio­nal FootGolf (FIFG), there are over 30 member countries, including all eight winners of the football World Cup.


A team sport invented in 1891 in County Wicklow, Ireland, cycle polo is, as you might have guessed, polo played on bikes. Enthusiast­s can now choose to play on grass or an alternativ­e version called ‘hardcourt bike polo’. The sport is played in many countries all over the world, with the grass format dominated by India.


A contact sport contested by two seven-a-side teams, kabaddi is popular across Asia. The object of the game is to tag out as many players on the opposition as possible. To do so, a single player – known as a raider – is sent into the opponents’ half, where they must tag as many defenders as they can without being tackled, before returning to their own half. India have beaten Iran in all three World Cup finals, but at the last tournament – which had 12 participan­ts, including England, Argentina, Poland and the United States – the two heavyweigh­ts both got knocked out in the group stages.


A version of volleyball played with a rattan (a synthetic ball) in which you’re only allowed to use your feet, knees, chest or head. Sepak takraw originated in Malaysia and is popular across South-East Asia – Thailand being far and away the most successful country. The Internatio­nal Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) is intent on growing the sport worldwide, having said it ultimately wants to see the game played at the Olympics.


The one true grass-roots sport, lawn mower racing was thought up in a West Sussex pub in 1973. The main proviso is that the mower must have been originally designed, manufactur­ed and sold commercial­ly to mow domestic lawns. Races generally take place in May through to October, culminatin­g in the World Championsh­ips.


Otherwise knowns as Octopush, this sub-aquatic activity was invented in 1950s Britain. It’s played by two teams of ten, in a 25-by-15-metre pool around three metres deep. The idea is to use your stick, or pusher, to propel the puck into the opposition’s goal. Players wear diving masks, snorkels and fins.


An annual event dreamt up in that cauldron of good ideas: the pub. In 1980 the landlord of the Neuadd Arms Hotel overhead two punters debating the merits of men racing against horses over mountainou­s terrain, and every year since – in the month of June – the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells hosts a race between runners and horse riders over a course of around 22 miles. It took until 2004, when Huw Lobb triumphed, for a horse to be beaten.

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Photo Kevin Kung via Getty Images
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Photo Vishal Bhatnagar/Getty Images
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Photo Tom Jenkins/Getty Images
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