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Quick Reads

7 Unusual Sports from Around the World

After the exciting sporting events this summer and witnessing some true athletics spirit with the Brownlee brothers recently, now is as good a time as ever to pick up a new active hobby. You can find practically anything over at our sports section, you might even consider taking up something new such as fishing, go-karting or diving!

We started thinking about the quirky sports and hobbies the Preloved community are into, which developed into unusual sports and competitions around the world – we’re OMG SO random! like that. The human being is, truly, a weird and wonderful thing. Here are our 7 of our favourite unusual sports.

Basque Pelota

Known as the fastest ball game on earth, this sport originated in the Basque Country, between the Spanish and French border. The sport is reminiscent of squash and has 4 modalities and 14 disciplines. The game can be played with a gloved hand, a wooden racket or a chistera, which looks like a hybrid between a bat and raquet; this particular speciality is called Jai Alai. The ball is made of rubber wrapped in goatskin and is as hard as a cricket ball. The game came about in 1850 and consists of two teams with two players each who hit the ball against a wall, which can then in turn bounce on the ground or the adjacent wall.

Turkish Oil Wrestling

As Turkey’s national sport, oil wrestling can be traced all the way back to Greco-Roman times. Those who wrestle are highly regarded in the community, and training is mostly done through more wrestling instead of going to the gym. Participants all wear the same leather trousers, and oil themselves prior to the match. Initially, fights could go on for hours until one of the opponents finally won, so the oiling was used to protect the skin, it also makes it more difficult for the wrestler to get a grip on his opponent. The trousers are called kispet and end below the knee; the aim is to overrule the opponent by pinning them belly up.

Trek earth - oil wrestling

Image Credit: Trek Earth

Muggle Quidditch

Ask any millennial bookworm which book influenced their childhood and  9 times out of 10 you will probably get Harry Potter. From actively embracing you are a Hufflepuff (nothing wrong with that, we are super loyal – everyone else is just jealous) to the yearly disappointment of, yet again, not receiving the letter come September, the Harry Potter madness is endless. Take Muggle Quidditch.

It originated in Vermont in 2005, and it has rapidly extended around universities in the US and, more recently, in the UK, Australia, France, Italy Spain, Mexico and Argentina among a few others. Much like the Quidditch in the Wizarding World, the sport consists of 2 teams with 7 players each: 3 chasers, 2 beaters, 1 keeper and a seeker. It is a mixed team sport and players must hold broomsticks between their legs at all times. The quaffle is a slightly deflated volleyball and only chasers and keepers can touch them; they are used for scoring points. There are two bludgers, which are slightly deflated dodgeballs and can only be manipulated by beaters. Their aim is to hit chasers who carry the quaffle, and to defend the chasers in their team. The snitch is a tennis ball, carried around in a sock by someone who is impartial to the game and is not on a broom; seekers have to look out for it and try and steal the snitch. The snitch is released 18 minutes after the game starts and is worth 30 points; if the snitch is caught, it ends the game.


Believed to have originated in the 1600s, Takanakuy is a tradition rooted in the Andes area of Chumbivilcas and is the community’s way of clearing the air among its residents. The cultural event exclusive to this Peruvian region takes place on the 25th December, and there’s a build up with festivities, drinking, music and dancing. Anyone can take part, from children to old men, and it essentially consists of fighting. As the area is cut off from the rest of the country due to its remoteness, there is no police, no justice and no government services, Takanakuy is the village’s way to settle disagreements between employees, neighbours, family members and friends. There are rules so people do not get badly hurt, and there are also referees; the first rule is that fights must start and end with a hug.

nadia cruz fotos2

Image Credit: Nadia Cruz Fotos


Capture the flag, anyone? This is an extreme version. Bo-taoshi came about in the 1940s as an exercise for military cadets and is now played on sports day at school across Japan. This practice consists of two teams of, wait for it, 150 individuals each. 75 of them are attackers and another 75 are defenders. The defenders have to protect a pole from the opposing team, which have to try and tilt it to a 30° angle. At the same time, attackers from the same team go towards the opposing team to try and tilt their pole to 30°. The team who manages to tilt the pole first wins. The fact that the defender at the top of the pole is called a ninja sold it to us.


If you liked playing tag as a child you’ll enjoy this sport. Kabaddi is a game which has been played for centuries, and has relatively recently been deemed a professional sport. The contact sport consists of two teams made of 7 players. Each player goes up to the opposing team and tries to touch as many members as possible with either their hand or foot; they are called raiders. The teams gain points for every opposing player they touch, but the opposing team can ambush the raider after they are tagged, thus annulling the points. All sounds good and easy, right? Not quite. The raider has to hold their breath the whole time they are in enemy territory. To prove they are not cheating, they have to repeat the word “kabaddi” so referees can attest they are not inhaling. This sport is quickly growing in popularity across Asia, with some sources confirming it is the second most popular sport in India after cricket.

wikipedia kabaddi

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Calcio Storico

Florence and its people are proud to practice, what they call, the original football. Dating back to the 16th century, calico storico takes place on the 24st of June every year and consists of 4 teams that represent the 4 neighbourhoods of the city. Each team has 27 players, 4 of which are goalkeepers, and what happens on the pitch is not exactly football. There is a bit of rugby in there, some wrestling and boxing too. The aim? To get the ball into the goal at the other side, of course. The position of defence, however, is taken quite literally. After a year ban in 2007 as a result of 50 players being taken to court, new rules were introduced which state players should be of 40 years old or under, do not have a criminal record and fights cannot get out of hand. The last one seems easier said than done.

Would you like to try any these sports and competitions? Have you heard or seen other sports or competitions that are out of the ordinary? Leave us a comment!

Zoe Allison

Zoe Allison

Writer and expert