Amazing Ping Pong Player with No Arms Will Convince You That Nothing Is Impossible

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Egyptian para-table tennis player Ibrahim Hamato has no arms, yet he can put almost any amateur ping-pong player to shame. How he is able to handle the paddle with his mouth and actually direct his shots is still a mystery to me, but watching him play is fascinating

“I had an accident when I was 10 years old but I loved table tennis,” Ibrahim says. “Three years after my accident, I wanted to play again holding the racket under my arm, but it didn’t work out. After trying different options, I found myself playing with my mouth.” The inspiring athlete was invited to be the guest of honor at the World Team Table Tennis Championships held in Tokyo this year. A short video clip shows him playing with some of the world’s best players – and they look like they’re struggling to keep up with him! His serve is incredible, and some of his shots are truly spectacular. “I feel very happy that I got this invitation from Mr. Sharara,” he said.  It is a big reward for me to watch the best players in the world in Tokyo and I hope this shows people that nothing is impossible as long as you work hard.”



Big-Hole Golf Makes Putting Sport More Accessible to the Masses

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Big-Hole Golf is a recreational version of regular golf that helps beginners and disheartened casual golfers enjoy a good game. As the name suggests, the golf holes are 15-inch in diameter, instead of the regular 4.25 inches. Golf purists may scoff at the thought of this, but big-hole golf is gaining popularity, even among seasoned golfers. They call this big-hole version ‘fast and fun’, which they say is quite nice for a change.

The concept of big-hole golf is very similar to that of regular golf. You hit the same number of full shots as in normal golf, which is the heart of the game for most players. The bliss and frustrations of the game are still the same, it’s just that you’re a bit farther from the hole. While the traditional format of golf tends to be slow and difficult for newbies, big-hole golf is a lot more exciting. The idea is quite simple: faster rounds, less putts, more fun.

Big-hole golf is said to be the brain-child of Mark King, chief executive at TaylorMade Golf Company. When asked why he chose to make the holes 15 inches, he shrugged and said, “It seemed about the right size.” To put the idea into action, TaylorMade paid another Minnesota-based company called Par Aide to manufacture 15-inch hole-cutters, coordinated tee markers and shorter flags to distinguish from other regular flags that might be on the green. The company then held an event as a part of the Hack Golf initiative – to solicit fresh ideas for bringing more players into the game and retaining the current ones.



A Sport Called Motoball – It’s Like Football Only with Motorcycles

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What do you get when you combine football and motorcycles? The answer is Motoball, a motorized sport generally unknown in America, but fairly popular in Europe. As you can guess, it’s no dainty game. Right from the noise and fumes, to the daredevil stunts that players perform on their motorcycles, Motoball is a truly hellish, cutthroat version of soccer. The relatively unknown sport is largely played in Europe, where many countries even have national teams. Some of the best Motoball players in the world are from Russia.

A Motoball match is played on a regular football field, complete with goal posts. There are two teams of five players each – four riders and a goalie, who is the only one not riding a bike. The players on motorcycles chase a large ball that is 40 cm in diameter and weighs about one kilogram. As the bikers speed towards the ball, they stop the motorcycle with just one foot and draw the other foot back to kick the ball. The matches are officiated by two referees, assisted by two linesmen. A match is split up into four 20-minute periods.

The goalies stand in a red area that is marked as a driver-free zone. The rest of the grass, mud or concrete field is pretty much free for the eight riders to tear after the ball, at speeds as high as 65 miles per hour. Expert maneuverability skills and lightning-fast reflexes are key in Motoball matches, as is the ability to shoot the ball accurately from the motorcycle seat. There are a few rules set in place for safety, like no smashing, but that doesn’t keep the players from getting hurt.



Combat Juggling Is a Real Sport and It’s Awesome

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There is usually nothing competitive about juggling there is this one group of jugglers that has managed to transform a harmless performance art into an exciting contact sport – ‘combat juggling’. A combat juggling match consists of two teams competing against each other, with each player juggling three clubs at a time. The players move towards each other, trying to interfere with and knock out the other player’s clubs. The last player standing with all three clubs in the air is declared the winner.

I watched a video clip of the sport, and after I got a hang of what was going on, I found it quite fun to watch. Of course, the word ‘combat’ is quite misleading – there’s practically no risk of any kind of injury in this sport. According to one player, Scotty, “Combatting is a sport because it’s a game. You compete, you have winners and losers. Bunch of people, we’re all juggling three clubs, last person juggling wins.”



Japanese Company Launches Pillow Specifically Designed for Pillow Fighting

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Did you know that pillow fighting is actually a serious sport in Japan? And that there exists a pillow specifically designed to be used in official pillow fights? And that it is the ‘Officially Recognized Pillow by the All Japan Pillow Fighting Association’? I wish I’d known all this sooner. Perhaps I’d have considered moving to Japan to become a professional pillow fighter. Such a cool job.

The association even has official tournaments. Just last weekend, they had an All Japan Pillow Fighting Tournament in Ito City. The participating fee was $20 per team, and they all competed for a grand prize of $1,000. Japanese pillow fighting has its own set of rules: it’s a lot like dodge ball, but fluffier! Each team consists of five members, who have to remain within the team’s court (about 356 square feet) at all times. From the moment the whistle sounds, all they do is throw pillows like crazy, using blankets to shield themselves. Getting hit by a pillow directly sends a player out of the game.

Sounds all right so far, but this is where things get really bizarre. During the match, the referee calls out from time to time: “The teacher is coming!” One of the teams will have to take the cue and lie down immediately, pretending to sleep. One member from the opposite team can walk over and steal as many pillows as he can. Then the game resumes. Doesn’t it sound a lot like the crazy games we invented as kids?



Meet the German Prince Skiing for Mexico in a Unique Mariachi-themed Suit at the Sochi Winter Olympics

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Prince Hulbertus von Hohenlohe – his name might sound German, but he’s actually Mexican. But he’s also a German prince. Confused? Let’s start again.

Prince Hulbertus was born in Mexico in 1959, to Prince Alfonso and Princess Ira of the reigning dynasty of a former German county. The German prince and Mexican citizen is often known to people by his nickname – ‘Royal Disaster’.

Over the years, the prince has been in the news for all strangest reasons. The latest – he’s formed a one-man Alpine Skiing Team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. He plans to represent Mexico and win the title of ‘king of the hill’. Not for his skiing talents of course, but for his bizarre outfit.

Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe


Goanna Pulling – Playing Tug of War with Your Neck

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If you’re as ignorant as I am, you’re probably scratching your head and asking yourself “what the heck is a goanna?” It’s a lizard species, but don’t worry, no animals are hurt in the unusual sport known as goanna pulling.

Goanna Pulling is basically tug of war with a bizarre twist – instead of their hands, competitors must use their heads to pull each other over the line and win the game. The rules are pretty simple: two people go (literally) head to head on the goanna pulling pad. They get down on all four, with their bellies touching the board and their heads held high. This position makes participants look a lot like goanna lizards, hence the name of the game, in case you were wondering. The two opponents each place their palms behind  a white line traced on the board, and a referee puts a large leather belt around their heads. As soon as he give the signal, the two contestants must use their upper body strength -their neck muscles especially – to pull the other guy past the line and win the game.



How Do You Stop a 400-lb Running Back? You Don’t!

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At 6’4”, (190 centimeters) and 400 lb (181 kilograms), Tony Picard, a senior at the White Swan High School in Yakima, Washington, is not only the biggest running back in high-school football, but probably the biggest in the history of pro football, as well.

Just like the famous William “Refrigerator” Perry, who played for the Chicago Bears during the 80’s and 90’s and is known as one of the biggest players to ever play pro football (6’2” and 335 lbs.), Tony “The Tone” Picard started out as an offensive lineman, but after his coach noticed his unusual speed, he was reinvented as an unlikely running back. His qualities for the position became evident at a football camp a couple of years ago, during a game of basketball. “He was so agile and making shots from way out there,” White Swans coach, Andrew Bush, recalls. “I said ‘I’ve got to use this somehow.’” He gave Picard just two instructions: average 4 yards per carry and don’t fumble. In the first 10 games of this season, the Tone has averaged 5 yards per carry. “Most teams will sacrifice five guys to stop him: four linemen and a middle linebacker. That leaves three guys on each side to stop the rest of our team,” the coach says. “Everything else opens up: our outside running, our play action, and our entire passing game. We average about 450 yards as a team offensively.”



Gender Test Demanded for South-Korean Women’s Soccer Player Who Scored 19 Goals in 22 Games

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Here’s something that doesn’t happen every day: the coaches of five of South Korea’s seven women soccer league teams have threatened to boycott the national competition if Seoul City Amazons striker Park Eun-Seon does not have a gender test. The 26-year-old was named best forward this season, with 19 goals in 22 matches.

At 1.80 meters tall and weighing 74 kilograms, park Eun-Seon really does have a physique worthy of her team’s name, and could probably even secure a place in a men’s soccer team, which is exactly why several coaches of rival squads are threatening to boycott South-Korea’s women’s soccer league if she isn’t required to take a gender test. But according to Seoul City Amazons officials, Park’s manly physique isn’t reason enough to humiliate the player by forcing her to pass yet another gender test. They claim the whole thing is part of a “conspiracy” because she has shown such remarkable form this last season, after a long career slump. Seoul Sports Council general secretary Kim Joon-Soo seems to agree. “We have no intention of accepting the gender verification test just to stop the boycott,” he said. “This is a serious violation of human rights that she’s suffering for a second time. The question regarding Park’s gender identity shall never be raised again. The city of Seoul will take all necessary measures to protect our player’s human rights.”



Snowshoe Baseball – A Taste of Winter in the Summer Months

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What do you get when you combine a winter pastime like snowshoe running with a summer sport like baseball. The answer would be snowshoe baseball, a unique sport played every year in Lake Tomahawk, Winsconsin.

With its beautiful lakes and gorgeous scenery, Lake Tomahawk has always been one of Wisconsin’s most popular tourist attractions, but in 1961, Town Chairman, Ray Sloan, decided to give summer tourists yet another source of entertainment. His idea was to cover the local baseball field with sawdust and woodchips, and invite other other area teams to challenge the hometown squad in a unique series of baseball games where the players had to wear snowshoes. Sloan strategy worked and the wacky games have become a local tradition that attracts spectators from all around the globe and earned Lake Tomahawk the title of “Snowshoe Baseball Capital of the World”. The rules of the game are very similar to baseball, but the snowshoes really make it interesting by forging players to waddle and scuffle rather than sprint to bases. There’s a lot of falling, especially early in the match, as everyone tries to get used to the snowshoes, but the sawdust and woodchips act as a soft mattress, so injuries are rare.



Bubble Football – The New Sport Craze Taking Europe by Storm

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If you thought the game of football couldn’t get any better, think again. Introducing Bubble Football, a new almost-sport that combines the popular game of football/soccer with zorbing.

Bubble Football is the brainchild of Henrik Elvestad and Johan Golden, two wacky Norwegians who thought football would be even more entertaining if players were encased in clear plastic zorbing balls. The first ever match was broadcast on Norwegian TV show “Golden Goal” at the end of 2011 as a gag, but after being posted on YouTube, the craze spread throughout Europe like wildfire. In the last few years, bubble football matches have been held everywhere from Italy to Latvia, and there are now even online store selling and renting equipment to anyone willing to try it.



England’s Shin-Kicking Championship Is a Painful Affair

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Sometimes described as an English martial art, shin kicking is a centuries-old combat sport in which two participants kick each other in the shins until one of them falls down. Needless to say there is a lot of pain involved.

The origins of shin kicking are lost in the mists of time, but some experts say it started as a variation of wrestling, at least five or six hundred years ago. The brutal sport has been a part of the famous Cotsworld Olympik Games since the 17th centuries and it’s still practiced today. The rules of shin kicking are very straightforward: the two combatants grab each other’s collars and start kicking until one of them falls down. Although pushing or pulling is permitted, contestants have to kick their opponent in the shins at least once before they hit the ground for their win to count. Matches are won by the person who wins two out of three rounds. As you probably know, shin kicks really hurt, so participants are allowed to stuff their pants with straw in order to cushion the painful blows. Still, the organizers of the annual Shin Kicking Championship say the pain is so bad that the vast majority of participants never return. This year, Zak Warren, the previous champion actually defended his title, but it’s a very rare occurrence.



FootGolf – Fun New Sport Combines Football and Golf

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FootGolf is an addictively fun sport that combines golf and football (soccer). It’s usually played on golf courses and players have to putt a football in 21-inch holes using as few kicks as possible.

The origins of footgolf are unclear, but its conversion into an official sport can be attributed to the Netherlands, where the ruleset was standardized in 2009. Its popularity has expanded around the world ever since, and every day more and more football and golf fans choose to replace the club stroke with a good healthy kick. In this new precision sport, players are required to kick a football into a cup in as few shots as possible. Most of the rules correspond to those of golf, and there is even a dress code. The first shot has to be played from the tee, and obstacles like bunkers, trees, water and hills have to be avoided for an easier game. In some countries, the game also features man-made obstacles that the players are not allowed to touch or move in order to get the ball in the hole. Players have to combine powerful kicks with strategic plays in order to complete the 9 or 18 hole course as fast as they can.



Extreme Mountain Unicycling Is as Crazy as It Sounds

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As if coming down the side of a mountain on two wheels wasn’t hard enough, thrill-seekers have come up with an even crazier sport – extreme mountain unicycling. Saying this sport is dangerous and difficult is probably a huge understatement.

If you though unicycling was just a goofy pastime, and out previous posts on Cycle Ball and other interesting unicycle sports haven’t changed your mind, this one definitely will. Extreme mountain Unicycling is all about climbing dangerous peaks and then sliding and bunny-hopping all the way down without falling into seemingly-bottomless chasms. Not really my idea of a fun time to be honest, but I have to admit watching the likes of Lutz Eichholz cycling their way down the Dolomite Mountains, in Italy, on one wheel is pretty cool. The young German and his friend Stephanie Dietze garnered the support of Adidas sportswear, who sponsored their trip and provided a professional cameraman to record their unbelievably dangerous feats.


Meet Jim Cripps, the Incredible Backwards Bowler

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You’ve probably never seen anything like this before, I sure haven’t. Tennessee native James Cripps earned the nickname Backwards Bowler for a very simple reason – he’s able to bowl perfectly well without even facing the lanes.

Believe it or not, it all started as a friendly bet. Jim Cripps loved bowling, but he admits he was pretty terrible at it, so at one point a friend challenged him to try and score 150 points backwards. It sounds impossible, but Jim says he managed to land a strike on his first try, and ended up with a final score of 163. After that he just couldn’t stop bowling backwards. “We never settled up on the bet, but I think I definitely came out the winner of the bet because it truly has been great,”Cripps said. As you can imagine, his skills improved dramatically over the next few years, and he now has an average of 204 points per game and holds a Guinness record of 278.


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