Often borne out of local traditions and customs or just plain weird. Here we present 10 of the world's more bizarre sporting events which, with good timing, it's just possible to see on an Audley trip.
Sumo Wrestling, Japan
With a history spanning many centuries, sumo wrestling is Japan’s most popular traditional sport. The idea of sumo is to force your opponent out of the ring or to throw him to the floor using one or more of the 82 legitimate techniques. Sumo wrestlers are much revered and are the equivalent of our footballer stars, albeit with slightly bigger waistlines as they weigh in at an average of 150kg!
Read more about Japan
Henley-on-Todd Regatta, Australia
The fact that there's little or no water in Alice Springs doesn't stop this Australian desert town from holding its own regatta every August. Watching people race in bottomless boats through the sand of the Todd River is pretty surreal but definitely fun. By the way, the name pokes fun at the world famous Henley Royal Regatta (for rowing), which is held in the Oxfordshire town of Henley each July.
Read more about Alice Springs
Bangkok Vertical Marathon, Thailand
This year marks Bangkok's 12th annual Vertical Marathon. Each September fitness fanatics (and maybe masochists) gather at the Banyan Tree Hotel in Bangkok to race up the 1,093 steps to the finishing point on the 61st floor. Proceeds go to a charity which provides babies of HIV-positive mothers with special milk.
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Homeless World Cup, Brazil
The Homeless World Cup is international football tournament that exists to raise awareness about the one billion homeless people in our world today. To qualify players must be homeless or have been in the past year. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will host the 2010 tournament in September. Incidentally, many participants go on to find a job, get an education or generally improve their situations.
Read more about Rio de Janeiro
National Penny Farthing Championships, Australia
Can't make the Tour de France this July? Not to worry, you can always visit Evandale in northern Tasmania for the annual National Penny Farthing Championships. Market stalls and a variety of entertainments create the ambience of a colonial country fair. The races are generally held each February.
Read more about Tasmania
'Buzkashi' sounds like some exotic curry but in fact it's a form of polo, except instead of using a ball they use a headless goat. You definitely won't see this played by the Hurlingham Polo Association, so you'll need to visit somewhere like Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan or Kazakhstan.
Read more about Kyrgyzstan
Not a sport to try if you don't like the cold - or dogs. The annual Iditarod is raced over 1,150 miles of Alaska's mountain ranges, frozen rivers, forests and windswept tundra. It takes place in the dead of winter in midst of sub-zero temperatures and gale force winds and blizzards, where wind chill can go down to about -75C.
Read more about Alaska
Laughter Yoga, India
Well, not really a sport and certainly no training is needed for laughter yoga, which is said to improve health and promote inner peace. Mumbai in India has hundreds of 'Laughter Clubs' where people gather in public parks, factories, offices and laugh their hearts out. Why not join in - it should be a laugh.
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World Rock Paper Scissors Championships, Canada
A game you might have played at school can now be enjoyed into adulthood - just don't tell your friends! Held in Toronto each year in late October, the rules are simple. Hand signals imitating paper, rock or scissors are delivered simultaneously by the players and the outcome is determined thus: rock wins against scissors; scissors wins against paper; paper wins against rock.
Read more about Toronto