Top 7 crazy sports from around the world

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We all know the popular sports like football, athletics, and rugby. We even know some quite weird sports: caber toss, chess boxing, extreme ironing and pie-eating contests. However, have you heard of these even more curious pastimes? We’ve searched all four corners of the earth, sailed the seven seas, and trekked through the wilds to find you the top 7 crazy sports from around the world.

Kabaddi from India

men playing kabaddi


Originating in India, this is the national sport of Bangladesh, and some Indian States. It is also played extensively in Pakistan, parts of Southeast Asia and, strangely enough, in Peebles on the Scottish border.

The game is played by two opposing teams and the aims are simple: score more points than the other team. To score points, a team will send a “raider” into the opposing teams section of the court. Whilst in there, the raider will attempt to tag as many of the opposing team with his legs or arms. The more players who are tagged, the more points scored. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. The raider must not take another breath whilst in the opponents court, and to prove he/she hasn’t, will chant “kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi” without a break. If the opposing team manage to trap the raider before they can escape back to their side and take a breath, that player is out. The result is a noisy, fast-paced game filled with movement, skill and stamina.

Related: Escape to India on our group adventure for 30- & 40-somethings

Sepak Takraw from Malaysia

This game is said to have been first played by the Malaysian Royal Family in the 15th century and resembles modern day volleyball, with a few exceptions of course.

Played in a court the same size as a badminton court, with two teams of three on either side of a 5-foot net, the aim of the game is simple: don’t drop the ball! Unlike volleyball, players can only touch the ball once before it goes over the net, and they’re not allowed to touch the ball with their hands! This leads to all sorts of acrobatic displays from the players who use ingenious (and sometimes beautiful) methods to keep the ball from faulting on their patch.

Tejo from Colombia

man playing the colombian sport of tejo

Tejo is a traditional sport from Colombia which is unbelievably popular! As sports go, it is rather old, quite boozy and a tad explosive.

The aim of the game is to fling a disc into a tube which is surrounded by small bags of gunpowder! While you would think this requires a great deal of concentration and skill, players often drink beer as they play, giving the whole event a festive, cheery atmosphere. Wonder what the world record is.

Related: Play this explosive game for yourself on our Colombia group adventure

Glima from Iceland

men doing icelandic glima wrestling

Glima, meaning “brilliant flash” in Old Norse, is a traditional form of Scandinavian folk wrestling which was used by the Viking some 1,200 years ago. Today it is the national sport of Iceland and is increasing in popularity in Norway.

Glima is similar to martial arts in that each player treats their opponent with honour – although it can get pretty violent at times! The aim of Glima is to be the fighter standing when the other fighter is lying down on the ground. Each game is made up of throws, blows, kicks, chokes, locks, and pain techniques, all aimed at overthrowing the opponent player and only finishes once the player on the ground can no longer touch the other player. In other words player one must throw player two far enough away that he cannot grab at him from the floor. That could go on a long time…

Novuss from Latvia

Originating in Northern Europe, Novuss was supposedly modified from billiards for those travelling by boat. It is now the national sport of Latvia.

Novuss is almost like a mixture of air hockey and snooker (??). It can be played either as a two-person or four-person (doubles) game, with men and women competing together, and requires a steady hand and good attention to the rules. Rather than being a particularly crazy sport, it’s just downright weird!

Glacier Surfing from Alaska

a dramatic picture of glaciers

This is by far the craziest sport on this list, and has actually only been played by an extremely small handful of [batsh*t crazy] people.

As you may have guessed, it involves surfing the waves created by melting glaciers and is a fairly new phenomenon. While some people may enjoy surfing in the warm waters off Australia and Hawaii, there will always be others who prefer the more dangerous things in life. This is their sport.

Related: 5 signs you URGENTLY need an adventure

Buzkashi from Afghanistan

Do any sports really get your goat? Tell you what gets the goat of Afghani people: Buzkashi. Buzkashi – which literally translates to “goat grabbing” – is the national sport of Afghanistan and is unnervingly popular across Central Asia. If you throw up at the site of horrid words, please look away now.

In Buzkashi, the headless carcass of a goat is placed in the centre of a circle and surrounded by the players from two opposing teams. The object of the game is to get control of the carcass and bring it to the scoring area. Although it seems like a simple task, it is not. Only the most masterful players, (called chapandaz) ever even get close to the carcass. It’s unlikely to appear at the next Olympic games, but the competition is fierce, with the winner receiving prizes that have been donated by a sponsor, ranging from money, to fine turbans and clothes.

N.B. We think this is gross, and most definitely do not condone this sport, but it is pretty crazy.

Images: Shutterstock

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