Wednesday 18 April 2012

Cheapflights.Com.Au Circles the World in Search of New Olympic Sports

Camel racing
With just 100 days left to go, the website issues its ideas for the world’s Top 10 Alternative Olympic Sports

The Olympic Games are now coming up fast so, to celebrate their near arrival,, the online leader in travel deals publishing, unleashes its favourite picks of alternative Olympic sports.

With athletes competing in 39 disciplines from across 26 sports, audiences may think they will see it all in London this summer. However,’s in-house experts, having spanned the globe in search of sports that aren’t on the Olympic radar and can confirm there’s a whole range of exciting competitions that would add some new dimensions to the Games.

From camel racing in Dubai to bun climbing in China and even Quidditch, the real life version inspired by Harry Potter – literally an entire world of competition awaits.

Check out five of’s top 10 picks, two of which can be witnessed and enjoyed from right here in Australia.

Tuna Tossing: The Tuna Tossing World Championship occurs annually at the Tunarama Festival in Port Lincoln, Australia. Men and women from 16 years up fight it out to toss their tuna the furthest, hoping to win a share of AU$3,000. Contestants can toss the 10kg frozen tuna in any way they want, so twirl, throw, fling and chuck that tuna to victory. But be warned, the record for the longest tuna toss of all time stretches for an enormous 25 metres, so competition is fierce! For younger tossing hopefuls between the ages of five and ten, the Tunarama Festival also holds an annual prawn toss.

Outhouse Racing: Rugged living leads to rowdy sports, or so it would seem given those who embrace the sport of Outhouse Racing. Found from the upper peninsula of Michigan and much of the upper mid-west and west in the U.S. through the Canadian Rockies and on into Alaska, this is a sport of hometown fun and foolishness. Aussies also have a turn at it, though here it is known as Dunny Racing. By either name, it’s a sport you can form a mental picture of quickly. Or possibly not. Here’s how it works in one Australian town: Every second year in September, the town of Winton in the outback of Queensland hosts the Sorbent Australian Dunny Derby. Twenty “dunny jockeys” sit astride dunnies on wheels pulled by a team of four to race to the finish line of a 250 metre track. All the jockeys are weighed in before and after each race and a professional race caller is present to call the race. Pick your favourite dunny and you can bet on it, although you may not win as much as the winning team, which is awarded AU$3,000. After the Derby has finished, everyone joins together to sing and dance to their favourite Country Music.

Quidditch: Yes we mean the sport of Harry Potter and his friends. It’s played now in the “muggle” world with everything but the flying. Imagine instead people running astride broom sticks, working to get a ball through a hoop without getting smashed by an opponent aiming another ball at their heads, dodgeball style. Or chasing a gold suited player darting around, carrying a sock stuffed with tennis balls, serving as the all-important “snitch,” which must be captured to end the match. This low-flying version of the game started at Middlebury College in Vermont in 2005 and now plays out at more than 300 college and high school campuses across the US and 12 other countries, according to The International Quidditch Association, Inc., which also hosts the annual World Cup and is considering an exhibition match in London to coincide with the Olympics.

Bun Climbing: The annual Cheung Chau Bun Festival is held on the eighth day of the fourth month in the Chinese calendar. Thousands of locals and tourists gather on the tiny fishing island of Cheung Chau to celebrate the festival and watch the bun climbing in amazement. The Bun Mountains are 60 foot tall steel structures covered with delicious, decorative steamed buns and bamboo scaffolding. Men compete in a race to climb up the towers and grab as many buns as possible. The person with the most buns wins. This peculiar sport shouldn’t be taken lightly though, as potential bun climbers must take a training course to learn basic mountaineering skills. At the end of the training period, twelve finalists are chosen to compete in the bun climbing competition. For safety reasons, fake buns are now used to stop the possibility of climbers slipping.

Buzkashi: Literally translated, it means “goat grabbing.” As for how it’s played, well, imagine polo but with one slight modification. Both sports involve two opposing teams competing on horseback with the aim of manoeuvring an object into the scoring area. The only difference is that in Buzkashi you use the carcass of a goat or calf instead of a ball. These days, a calf is used more often than a goat as the carcass of a calf is more durable. This is a fiercely competitive sport and definitely not for the faint hearted. To be in with a chance to win, both the player and the horse must undergo long and strenuous training. Buzkashi is the Afghan national sport and the Afghan Olympic Federation has now implemented official rules for the game.

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