With the 2020 Olympic Games recently coming to a conclusion in Tokyo, it is likely that you have been surprised and confused by the obscurity of some of the events featured in the Olympics this year. Five new sports debuted this summer and while 3×3 basketball and sport climbing may shock you as being professional global sports, here is a list of four bizarre sports from around the world that will leave a world traveler or a business interpreter alike questioning what a sport even is.
1. Calcio Fiorteino
Like many of the other sports on this list, Calcio Fiorteino combines different aspects of various popular mainstream sports, but filters out their practicality. This sport, which may be too violent for the business interpreter, was conceptualized in the middle ages and has seemingly not seen any rule changes since. By far the most brutal and violent sport on the list, Calcio Fiorentino is a combination of soccer (football), rugby, and MMA, with an emphasis on rugby and MMA. It features two teams of 27 players, with no substitutions and no breaks unless you are injured or kicked out of the game for breaking one of the two rules; no head kicks and no teaming up on an opponent. Matches are 50 minutes long and played on a gigantic dirt field 109 yards by 55 yards. The field is divided in half by a white line and framed by two goals that cover the width of each side of the field. In this game players run around and try to incapacitate as many opponents as possible using punching, kicking, tripping, and wrestling. Once one team sees that they have enough opponent defenders in submission they go on the attack carrying a soccer ball towards the opponents goal. Teams are awarded one point or a “caccia” for either kicking or throwing the ball into their opponents goal and half of a caccia for missing the goal.
2. Tejo (Turmequé)
Our next sport is similar to the popular American game of corn hole, but with an explosive twist. Tejo, also known as Turmequé, is an extremely popular sport in Colombia. This sport can be played with teams, but involves a single player at a time throwing a metal puck (tejo) across a 20 yard lane. The object of this sport is to get your puck as close to the target, which is a pipe positioned in the center of the table across the court. Tables are set up at a 45 degree angle, with wooden framing, and filled with clay. The target is positioned in the center is a pipe and a “mecha.” Mechas are often brightly colored triangular exploding targets that contain gunpowder and explode upon impact of being hit by a player. Generally, games are played to 27 points and follow a standard point structure. If nobody hits the target for the round, the player whose tejo was closest to the mecha get’s one point. Three points are awarded for exploding the mecha, six points for landing your tejo inside the target/pipe area, and a maximum of nine points for both exploding the mecha and landing your tejo in the target.
As a business interpreter, do you ever wish that tag wasn’t only socially acceptable for kids to play? Well maybe you should look into Kabaddi. Popular in India and various surrounding Asian countries, Kabaddi is a high contact tagging sport. This sport is traditionally played on a 33ft by 43ft indoor court. It consists of two 20 minute halves played by two teams of seven players each. The object of this sport is for an offensive player of a team, their “raider,” to run into the opponent’s half and tag as many players as possible and return to their half without being tagged or tackled. As if it wasn’t bizarre enough for grown men to be playing tag, in order for the raider’s tags to count they must successfully tag their opponents and re-enter their side of the court in a single breath. Teams are awarded one point for each successful opponent tagged and also for each opponent raider tagged or tackled. Assuming the raider is tagged or tackled while attacking, they are taken out of the game until their team is able to score a point or take one of their opponents out of the game.
4. Sepak Takraw
Developed in Malaysia in the 1960’s, Sepak Takraw is an extremely popular sport amongst various countries in Asia. Sepak Takraw is a spectacle to watch and seemingly features real life ninjas for players. Games are played by two teams of four players each on a small rectangular court with a net separating the two halves. This sport is a combination of soccer (football) and volleyball. It features a low hanging net in the middle of the court that the two teams use to kick a small plastic ball over on either side. Games are played best of three sets and each set is played up to 21 points. Similar to volleyball, the main avenue for scoring a point is by hitting the ball to the floor of your opponent’s half of the court. Points are also awarded to teams when the opponents miss two serves and cannot return the ball back to the other team within the boundaries of the court.
Although these sports are not as refined or practical as the world’s most prominent sports today, they are some of these countries’ main forms of entertainment. Sports are continuously developing and taking on different forms and combinations. While I doubt there is much hope for Calcio Fiorteino, maybe we’ll see Sepak Takraw, Kabaddi, or Tejo in the Olympics one day. Who knows? One thing is for certain however, as these sports exemplify, every country possesses a unique culture that could offer a wide range of opportunities in your industry and for your company. At Language Connections it is our goal to provide professional translation services, interpreting services, and even language training to help ensure that your company doesn’t face any linguistic barriers when conducting business. Whether you need a business interpreter or a professional translator Language Connections will be there to help.
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