From Sepak takraw to lacrosse: five fascinating but little-known sports
The World Sports Encyclopedia lists over 8,000 different sports and games, classified into a variety of categories based on several parameters. The sporting culture of India is dominated by a few sports like cricket, soccer, hockey, badminton, tennis, chess, table tennis and basketball, with cricket dominating the roost.
Some other sports, such as boxing, wrestling, and motorsports also have a reasonable following, especially in some parts of the country. Apart from these, there are a large number of sports, some of which are even Olympic sports, which are little known to most Indians, although there are teams representing the nation in some of these sports.
Here’s a look at five of those sports that are relatively unknown in the country:
Lacrosse is an extremely popular stick and ball team sport and one of the oldest sports in North America. The sport even featured in the Summer Olympics in the 1904 and 1908 editions. The sport’s governing body, world lacrosse, hosts the world lacrosse championship, the sport’s flagship event, every four years.
The sport is typically played on an outdoor lacrosse field or, in some cases, on an indoor lacrosse rink. A lacrosse stick is used to carry, catch, pass and shoot the ball into the goal. The stick is unique, in that it has a small basket attached to one end to carry the ball across the field. The ultimate goal, like other stick-and-ball sports, is to score more goals than your opponent and accumulate more points. Lacrosse is a contact sport and players wear a variety of protective equipment, such as helmets, gloves, shoulder pads, etc. during the match.
Korfball is a ball sport with its general outline similar to basketball. It is unique in that it is a mixed sport, played between two teams of eight players each, both made up of four men and four women each. Like other ball sports, the objective is to score a basket by throwing the ball into your opponent’s basket. The team with the most points at the end of the stipulated time period wins the match.
The sport is played in over 70 countries around the world and was even featured non-competitively at the 1920 and 1928 Summer Olympics. The sport involves limited contact between players and is a regular feature of the Games. quadrennial world events.
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Sepak takraw is a Southeast Asian indoor team sport played with a rattan or rubberized plastic ball. Also known as kick volleyball, the rules and regulations of the sport are similar to volleyball, with the obvious exception of the use of the hands to touch the ball, and instead of the use of the feet, the head, chest or knee. A match is played between two teams of 2 to 4 players each.
The game is extremely popular and widely played in countries like Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia. Although the sport has never featured in the Olympics, it has been a regular competitive sport at the Asian Games since 1990, when the Thai national team dominated the competition.
Another relatively unknown outdoor bat-and-ball is hurling; a native Gaelic sport practiced for over 4,000 years in Ireland. Full contact sport, a match is played between two teams of 15 players each, with substitutions allowed during the game. The objective of the sport is to use a stick (called a hurl) to strike a ball (called a sliotar or throw). ball) into the opponent’s goal, either under a horizontal bar (for three points) or above (for one point). The sport is a mixture of sports such as football, rugby and field hockey. Carrying the sliotar by hand up to four stages is also considered legal.
The Gaelic Athletic Association is the highest governing body in sport and the sport is extremely popular in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, etc. The sport was presented for demonstration at the 1904 Summer Olympics and is considered an important cultural element. Unesco heritage.
Ultimate (or Ultimate Frisbee)
Ultimate is a recently formalized sport that was developed in New Jersey in 1968. It is a low contact team sport played with a flying disc, popularly known as Frisbee. The sport is unique in that it involves self-refereeing instead of having a referee or referee, even in high-level matches, relying fully on the sportsmanship of the players. The objective is to outdo your opponent by racking up more points by passing passes to your teammates in opposing areas on the pitch. The game is played either on a grass field or on a beach, or even indoors if necessary, in teams of 5 to 7 players each.
The game has featured regularly at the World Games since 2001 and was recently recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), even making it eligible to be presented at the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Many other unique sports which are not widely practiced in India have their own fan base and avid followers in different parts of the world. Joust, zorbing, cycle-ball, kendo are others that deserve honorable mentions.
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Written by Shubhang Gopal