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8 Sports You’ve Never Heard Of (But Should Probably Try)!

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After what’s been a strange 2020, and in a world that’s turned upside down and travelling in PPE suits is considered “normal” I think it’s fair to say that anything mainstream is passé! So, at Man’s Life, we’re going to apply the same logic to the world of sport to give you our list of sports from competitive wife carrying (and no we don’t just mean out of a store when your credit card bill is rocketing), to the slightly better known Sepak Tekraw.

We can guarantee you’ll be trying a few of these with your mates soon…just make sure you send us all the fails from the videos, please!


There are a lot of men in the world trying to get their wives off their back (or vice versa too) but these men are doing just the opposite and clutching onto them for dear life as they dodge their way around a challenging obstacle course to win…wait for it…their wife’s weight in beer, five times her weight in cash and an entry into the World Championship in Finland! The sport is said to have drawn inspiration from the legend of “Ronkainen the Robber”, who asked his gang members to prove their mettle by carrying live pigs over an obstacle course.

A Lithuanian couple, Vytautas Kirkliauskas and his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene won the World Wife-Carrying Championship for a second time in a row in 2019 in the Finnish town of Sonkajarvi after completing the 254-meter obstacle course in 1 minute and 6 seconds. The championship now draws thousands of visitors to the town of only about 4,000 inhabitants in central Finland with 2019 being the 24th edition of the Wife Carrying Championships.


Not all quaint, quiet English villages stay that way, especially if it’s the month of May near the village of Brockworth in Gloucestershire, England. When we speak of dangerous adventure sports, motocross, base jumping, sky diving etc. come to mind but cheese rolling?? Yup, add it to the list…No one really knows how this tradition began but the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Race is over 100 years old now and it really is as simple as it sounds – chase a wheel of cheese that weighs around 3kgs down a hill and the first to catch it keeps the cheese! Town officials have often tried to ban the event because of the seriousness of the injuries from the event (think broken collar bones & fractured limbs), but it hasn’t stopped people travelling from across the globe to take part and win the cheese or the 10-pound cash prize for 2nd or 3rd spot!


Native to Southeast Asia, Sepak Tekraw in simple terms is a form of kick volleyball. The game takes its name from the countries where the sport is most popular. Speak is the Malay word for kick, and takraw the Thai word for woven ball. The ball is spherical and made out of synthetic fibre although originally played with a ball made of dried palm leaves. Players are only allowed to touch the ball with their head, feet, knees and chest. Every team is allowed a maximum of three touches before sending it over the net but unlike volleyball, all three touches can be done by a single player as well. Fun fact – India has an Asian Games medal in Sepak Takraw from the 2018 Asian Games and the sport is expected to make an Olympics debut either in 2024 or 2028!


Have you ever felt the need for more exciting adventures in your life but you still have your daily chores to get through? Welcome to Extreme Ironing – Yes, this is an actual sport! The Sport rose in prominence after the documentary “Extreme Ironing: Pressing for Victory”, was released, following the British team in the first Extreme Ironing World Championships in Germany in 2002. If you’re wondering if holding your baby or dog while ironing makes the cut then think a bit more extreme, i.e. pressing your crisp white shirt on a cliff edge, flattening your creases in the forest on horseback, or steaming your trousers in the seas or while upside down jumping out of an airplane!


Yubi Lakpi is a contact sport played with a coconut which to many sports fans, resembles the sport of Rugby. Yubi Lakpi when literally translated means “coconut snatching” and is a sport that originated in Manipur, India which is the only place in the world that it is currently played. Players aim to carry the coconut to score goals whereas the opposing team tries to snatch away the coconut.  Ultimately, the player who scores maximum goals walks away with the award while the Chief Guest goes away with the oil-soaked Coconut used.

Manipuri people often claim that today’s Rugby is a modernized version of Yubi Lakpi, where players wear just a pair of shorts and no shirts. Before the match starts, players smear their bodies with oil to make snatching each other slippery and the coconut used is also soaked in oil before the start. According to some sources, it was started as a Hindu ceremonial re-enactment of the celestial snatching of the nectar pot after Samundra Manthan, which is often considered the best episode narrated in Bhagavata Purana, the Mahabharata, and also in Vishnu Purana.

National Award-winning director Omung Kumar of ‘Mary Kom’ fame, was all set to direct a film based on Yubi Lakpi which could help revive this indigenous sport.


Ever fancy a sport that combines volleyball, football and gymnastics with some music thrown in there just for fun? Bossaball is that and a whole lot more played on an inflatable court featuring a trampoline on each side of the net. How fun is that?!!

Bossaball was created in 2004 by Belgian tennis player, Filip Eyckmans, who lived in Spain and spent his free time assisting live soccer matches and DJ-ing on private parties…He clearly found a way to turn his passion into a sport!

The word “bossa”, translated as style, flair or attitude in Brazilian Portuguese, is commonly associated with Bossa Nova, the samba-influenced Brazillian music. The name Bossaball, therefore, is an expression of sports, music and positive vibrations and is the ultimate mix of soccer tricks, volley skills and extreme gymnastics topped with exotic tunes. Bossaball showcases incredible skills with players striking the ball at unseen heights with any part of their body, giving viewers astonishing overhead kicks, dramatic dives and masterful control. Bossaball is now played in over 20 countries and four continents

7. Ba Game

Imagine the pandemonium of hundreds of competitive Scotsmen storming through tiny alleyways and cobbled streets of an old town with only a ball made of pig’s bladder on their minds. That’s Ba’ Game for you –  a version of medieval football played in Scotland, primarily around Christmas and New Year.

Ba is basically mob/village football, where two parts of a town, the Uppies or the Downies, have to get the ball to a goal on their respective sides of the town.

It is thought that at one time there may have been 200 similar games played across villages in the UK, with around 15 still being played today as a battle of pride, depending on which part of town people are born on and owe allegiance to. The ball is absolutely manhandled for hours on end, with play resembling a moving Rugby scrum, going through alleyways, into yards and through streets, while stores and homes are often boarded up to prevent damage.

8. Fierljeppen (Far Leaping)

The Netherlands is one of the lowest-lying countries in the world with almost half it’s surface area no more than a meter above sea level and so, while some sports on this list were born from creativity, the sport of Fierljeppen was born out of necessity. The multitude of canals and waterways across the country gave birth to Fierljeppen in the town of Friesland as a “simple” sport in their own terms, that sees hoards of local people floating gracefully through the air as they race up to the top of a pole.

At the core, you could say it’s a bit like Pole Vaulting, but instead of jumping over a set height, competitors sprint at full speed towards the pole, leap up and grab onto it in the hope that the fabulous laws of gravity then take them over a body of water and onto the other side. The first recognised event was held in 1767 and now has a national championship, a league and a full season of events held in the Netherlands each summer.


[Image Credit: Pixabay]

Suhail Chandhok

Vertical Head - Sports