Unique Sports: Chess Boxing, Underwater Hockey, and Footgolf

Written by: Justin

Edited by: Lucas

Visual by: Sarah Pr.

The world has come to love a variety of popular sports such as soccer, basketball and golf. But besides these, there are a number of other unique and strange sports that are not as well known but are starting to grow in popularity. For this week’s article, we feature three of these less known but equally enjoyed sports.

Chess Boxing
Chess boxing is a hybrid sport that combines chess and boxing. The objective of the game is to win by checkmate or by knocking out your opponent. One match consists of up to 11 alternating rounds of boxing and chess, with 6 chess rounds that last four minutes and 5 boxing rounds that are each three minutes. 

The idea of chess boxing was invented by a French comic book writer Enki Bilal in 1992. However, his vision for the sport was impractical. Bilal had the opponents fight a whole boxing match before facing off in chess. A decade later, Dutch performance artist Lepe Rubingh revised the sport by creating alternating rounds, which allowed for chess boxing to be a competitive sport.

Chess boxing is considered one of the most grueling sports because athletes must be capable of competing both physically and mentally. 

Underwater Hockey (Octopush)

As the name implies, underwater hockey is hockey played in a swimming pool. Two teams of six go head to head trying to score the puck into the opponents goal. The only way to maneuver the puck is by using their stick. The players must hold their breath to reach to the bottom of the pool where the puck lies. One match consists of two halves that typically last 15 minutes each.

In 1954, underwater hockey was invented in the United Kingdom by Alan Blake. The original rules had eight players on each team, hence “octo”, and players would use their stick or pusher, hence “push”. 

Underwater hockey is now played throughout the world from Australia to South Africa. The Underwater Hockey World Championship is the largest competition for the sport and has been held every two years since 1980. Teams from all over the world come together and compete at the highest level. The current reigning champions are New Zealand for both the men’s and women’s categories.

Footgolf 

Footgolf is a combination of soccer and golf. It is essentially golf but instead of a golf ball and club, you use a football and of course, your feet. Just like golf, the objective is to take the fewest shots to finish the course. 

The sport is benefiting from its popularity among young people who prefer it over the traditional golf game. The inaugural footgolf tournament was held in the Netherlands in 2008. The emergence of the sport was boosted when the Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG) was formed in 2012. This led to the creation of the first FootGolf World Cup where eight countries competed. In the second FootGolf World Cup, 230 players participated from 26 countries.

These are just three examples of non-mainstream sports that are starting to gain mainstream attention. As we adjust to life in the new normal and new ways of enjoying activities, we can expect more unique and interesting sports to be invented.