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Old 16-09-17, 11:09   #1
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Big Grin VIDEOs >NEW Sports From Toe Wrestling to Bog Snorkelling >Alternative SPORTS

Some Gold Medals Team GB Will Definitely be Winning ! From Toe Wrestling to Bog Snorkelling > The Alternative Sporting Championships That Eccentric Britain Loves

Daily Mail UK, 16 Sept 2017

If you didn't get tickets to the Olympic Games this summer don't fret, there are alternatives.

You could indulge in a spot of toe wrestling or cheese rolling instead, while snail racing and bog snorkelling surely knocks the men's 100 metre final into a ****ed hat.
While the eyes of the world will be on the London games, the rest of the UK is gearing up for a range of alternative sports that truly show off Britain's wackier side.

From sheep racing to the intriguing Hop, Skip and a G+T, these are the real competitions that hundreds of Brits from across the country line up to compete in every year.

And while securing the title of world champion gravy wrestler might not hold the same prestige as winning Olympic gold, for us Brits, itís the taking part that counts.

Scroll down for videos

Bog, bog, glorious bog: One man struggles through the weeds during the annual Bog Snorkelling Championships held on the August bank holiday Sunday, in a peat bog in Powys, Wales

...Or how about a spot of wrestling: Regular champion Alan Nasty Nash competes in the World Toe Wrestling Championships held in early June near Ashbourne, Derbyshire...

Miss Wood said: 'Thereís nothing uniquely eccentric about the British, youíll find people all over the world up to all sorts of weird and wonderful activities, but we do have a remarkable capacity to embrace the madness.

'I started researching all of these unusual and slightly wacky events after visiting the world-famous cheese rolling in Gloucestershire and I was hooked.

'I started posting all of my photos onto a blog, which has now been turned into a book. Most sports fans might be heading to London for a summer of sport - but Britainís sporting offerings by no means stop there.'

And they're off! Spectators cheer on the wooly runners and riders during the annual sheep racing championships, held over a weekend in July on the remote Island of Sark in The Channel Islands

Food and drink provided: Contestants get beefy during the annual World Gravy Wrestling Championships, usually held on the August Bank Holiday weekend at the Rose n Bowl pub in Stacksteads, Lancashire, left, while right, a dapper gent takes part in the Hop, Skip and G&T contest, during the annual Chap Olympiad in London

Take the annual Cheese Rolling at Cooperís Hill, just south of Gloucester. In a tradition that dates back hundreds of years competitors chase an 8lb double Gloucester down the hill - so steep it is almost vertical. The first to the bottom wins the cheese and no doubt a short spell in casualty.

Hundreds of spectators turn up every May to watch the race and many who take part need to be treated for injuries afterwards. Despite the high injury risk, the same competitors return year after year to run, roll and somersault down the hill.
In previous years, the official organisers have occasionally been forced to cancel the event due to lack of insurance cover when 15,000 people tried to turn up to watch, but dedicated locals have gone ahead and raced regardless.

It is believed the race may have originally started in Roman times and it was documented in the early 1800s as already being established as an old tradition.

Then there's the Gurning Championships. Every year dozens of people flock to Cumbria in order to pull the worldís ugliest face. Past holders of the title include Michaela Strachan - who visited the event in 2002, entered the competition for a laugh and ended up winning.

Inflated sense of fun: Men and women warm up with a conga dance before they compete in the annual Sumo Run held on a weekend in June, in Battersea Park, London

Not quite the 100 metre dash: Locals enter their prized speedy snails into the annual World Snail Racing Championship, held during July in Congham, Norfolk, left, while right, men, women, children... and wizards can take part in the World Conker Championships in Oundle, Northamptonshire

Contestants have to pull a grotesque face through a horse collar, known as a braffin. Through the centuries the event has been reported by newspapers under various titles. In 1852 it was described as Grinn for tobacco, while in 1884 it was more colloquially known as Grinning for Ďbacca. In the twentieth century it became Gurning through a braffin and is now known as the World Gurning Competition.

The origin of gurning is obscure, although it is reported to have originated from the mockery of the village idiot; the townsfolk would throw a horseís collar over him and make him pull funny faces in exchange for a few pints of ale.

Wrestling might be one of the oldest Olympic sports but competitors donít usually compete in a paddling pool filled with beefy gravy. Yet come August, budding wrestlers will make the annual journey to the Rose and Bowl pub in Rossendale, Lancashire, where they will be pitted against each other wearing fancy dress costumes in ankle-deep gravy.

Wrestlers earn two points when their opponent is down in the gravy and they have full control, but in turn their opponent can earn an extra point if they manage to wriggle free in the slippery stuff.

Participants can gain three points if they manage to submerge their opponentís shoulder in gravy, but up to 20 points can be awarded by the judges for competitors who raise the biggest laugh from the crowd.

The unusual competition, now in its fifth year, shows no signs of slowing down.

Beautifully wet game: No, this isn't a game of football played in flood water but the annual Football in the River match in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire

Cheese...and a broken leg: Every year, hundreds gather to watch a group of people chase after a 8lb Double Gloucester cheese during the annual Cheese Rolling event at Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire on Whitsun Bank Holiday in late May

But possibly the most eccentric sporting event on the British calendar is the gentlemanís Hop, Skip and a G&T. Smartly-dressed gents - wearing compulsory tweed and a cravat - must try to cover the furthest distance doing a hop, skip and a jump all while balancing a full glass of gin and tonic.

The event, which takes place annually in Bedford Square Gardens, London, is run as part of the Chap Olympiad where dapper gents compete in events including umbrella jousting and swooning.

And if they donít have success in the athletics with a tipple, the event also has a gin tent on site where they can drown their sorrows.

Meanwhile, in Sark, in the Channel Islands, the main event of the year is sheep racing. Sheep, carrying teddy bear or fluffy toy rabbit jockeys safely harnessed to their backs, race over a set course, including hurdles constructed from hay bales. With the inevitable unpredictability of the sheep chaos often ensues as they instinctively huddle together before being released from their pen.

Sheep not your bag? Try toe wrestling instead. Plenty of people played toe wrestling as a child, but a group of dedicated feet wrestlers have been campaigning for years to make the smelly past time an official Olympic sport.

The rules are simple: with shoes off, the competitors face each other toe-to-toe across the Ďtoediumí, where they interlock their big toes and try to force each other out of the ring. The World Toe Wrestling Championship was first held in 1976, at a pub in Wetton, Derbyshire.

Let's hope the wind doesn't change: A man pulls the ugliest face he can muster during the annual World Gurning Championships, held in September in Egremont, Cumbria

Now, photographer Emma Wood, has documented our quirkiest events in a book. Miss Wood has been a regular at more than 70 competitions around the country since 2006 to capture her shots for A Brit Different.

Like many creative types Miss Wood has, on occasion, let her art impinge on life after being persuaded to join in some of the sports. She has been crowned Ladies' World Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling champion and is world number one for toe wrestling.

Quirky read: Emma Wood's book A Brit Different

The competition is now held at the Bentley Brook Inn, near Ashbourne on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border, and is still going strong.

Another childhood favourite game is conkers, and every year thousands flock to Oundle, Northamptonshire, in a bid to be crowned World Conker champion. Organised by Ashton Conker Club, the competition first took place in 1965 and has grown year-on-year ever since. Nowadays, teams from all over the world meet for the competition.

It is played on eight white podiums in the playing arena. Contestants go through eliminating stages until the winner emerges and is lead to the Conker Throne and crowned.

For a slower-paced sport, try snail racing. Participants are invited to bring their own garden snails to the race, played on a 13inch-long track. Giant foreign snails are banned from the competition. Snails race from the centre of a 13inch circle to the outside at the annual event in Congham, Norfolk.

Archie the snail holds the current World record. He crossed the track in just two minutes in 1995.

Fancy dress fun runners arenít an uncommon sight, but one day each year hundreds of competitors walk, run or jog around Londonís Battersea park dressed in inflatable Sumo wrestling suits.

The run, which raises money for UK charity Gemin-i, sees competitors desperately trying to stay upright as they waddle around the 5km course in the inflatable fat suits. Fittingly, Battersea park is home to the famous Japanese Peace Pagoda, most of which was built by Nichidatsu Fujii, a Buddhist Monk from Japan.

The penultimate sport could currently be played on most UK pitches after the heavy rain of recent days. The Football in the River competition takes place every August in the river Windrush in Bourton-on-the-water, Gloucestershire.

Two rival six-a-side teams take to the river and play a game of football in knee-deep freezing water. The bizarre tradition has been held every year for more than 100 years. Thousands of people turn up to watch the match but organisers advise spectators to bring along their own waterproofs.

Finally this summer sees the 27th World Bog Snorkelling Championships, held in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales. Hundreds of participants from around the world gather every year to don a snorkel and make their way through a stinking peat bog as fast as they can. The current World Champion is Andrew Holmes from Yorkshire who completed his bog snorkel in an amazing 1.24.22 seconds.

Videos: Alternative Sports

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