National Day, flag, and song, the identity of a country lies in many symbols. What else can differentiate one country from another? a National Sport! They tend to be linked today to the most popular sport played by a population. However, some countries have kept as their national sport some unique traditional practice. Others have rearranged famous sport to their liking with personal rules.
1. Buzkashi, Afghan sport
This national sport of Afghanistan is actually known in all Central Asia. This game is not for everyone and could hurt the sensitivity of most people. Indeed, it consists of horse-mounted players who must grab a medium-sized decapitated animal (usually a calf or a goat). Once grabbed, they ride around a series of obstacles to put it in a circle at the end. It may sound quite simple until you know that there is no minimum number of players to run after the prey.
2. Chess Boxing, European practice
You can guess what it is: a mix of boxing and chess. This sport inspired by the novel “Froid Equateur” is most popular in Europe. However, it’s gaining more and more recognition around the globe. It seems to have been invented for smart and strong people. First, you get your opponent in checkmate, then to go fight him. When it’s over, you can come back for another round if you still feel like it.
3. Wife Carrying, Finland to USA
Originally began in Finland as a joke, this sport has taken over a few countries including the United States. Each year, at least three major competitions of wife-carrying are held. All the coupe participants need to overcome the distance of 253m. The prick is that the wife must be carried head down, which seems probably to be one of the least healthy things to do. Moreover, there is no need to go on a diet to ease your husband’s pain, because under 49kg you must use weighting.
4. Oil Wrestling in Turkey
This may be the longest still-running sporting event in the world. The Kirkpinar tournament has been ongoing for more than 600 years. The man-only sport has some quite complex rules that differentiate it from the Olympic wrestling. Before the fight, the men must oil each other as a sign of respect. Only then, they can get down and dirty until one of them gets his pants off.
Here is how it goes.
5. Hadudu national sport
Hadudu also known as Kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh and of several states in India. The game is simple. The raider has to hold his breath while trying to tag members of the opposite team. Those members must tackle the raider to the ground before he can exhale. For this practice, the players are trained to extend their breath-hold.
6. Oinã, Romanian sport
This sport has been inspired by baseball. Or, maybe it was the opposite since it has been played since the 14th century. However, it only looks like baseball because it’s a slightly more aggressive version of it. The bats are narrower and the leather ball is filled with animal hair. In addition, both teams; offense and defense can score. If the offense must hit the ball the defense has to physically hit the runners. That is the rules so they better run even faster.
7. Sepak Takraw national sport
The Southeast Asian sport Sepak Takraw, meaning literally “kick woven ball”, is Philippines’ national sport. This practice is pretty much a volleyball game played with only feet. Jump, stretch, strength, all in seconds, the show is guaranteed. Apart from the feet, the other difference is that there are only four players and the rattan ball is smaller.
8. Bandy, Russia
Russian and hockey is a long-lasting love story. However, this is not their national sport, even though Bandy is almost identical to ice hockey. Bandy is the second most popular winter sport in the world. When you forget the outfit and the ice, it seems based on football. Indeed, it’s played with a ball, small one, on a soccer-pitch-size-ice, and with tho teams of eleven players.
Eastern countries seem to have been the most inspired when inventing their national sport. How surprising some ideas or rules may be, these games are serious matters where they are played. It can be funny to watch but it’s quite certain that they remain very physical. Depending on your culture you should probably not try it at home.