For generations upon generations if you asked an Argentine what their favourite sport was you’d get the same answer 99% of the time: football. Even today, although there is some field hockey and basketball thrown into the mix, football still dominates the minds of the masses. But now the Argentine Commission for Alternative Sports (CODA) is ready to shake things up.
CODA is here to provide a platform for some of the more unknown and unusual sports of the world. What do you get if you mix feathers, a net, and a person’s foot? The sport of Shuttlecock, which is just one of many on the commission’s list. So we here at the Argentina Independent have rounded up some of the sports you have to try out.
Ping Pong with Obstacles
As if trying to a hit a ball the size of an egg as it’s being whipped across the table at you isn’t hard enough, these players here in Argentina have made it even harder: they’ve added obstacles. From rubix cubes, to rice, to building blocks, and even toy soldiers, anything that can provide a target counts as an obstacle.
The game is played the exact same way as regular ping-pong. Two players stand on either side of the table and hit the ball back and forth trying to play an un-returnable ball or force the other player to hit it into the net so that it bounces more than once on their opponent’s side.
Adding obstacles in the mix however, makes it even more challenging because of the un-readable direction the obstacle often sends the ball in. The idea is to hit the obstacles so that the ball is deflected into an area where the opponent can’t react quickly enough to return the shot. There is even rumours of a ‘mental obstacle’ round, in which players are asked questions while they play the game. They must respond within a certain amount of time or forfeit a point.
Here in Buenos Aires the first ever Ping Pong with Obstacles National Championships was held on the 28th August. The event was a huge success with 32 players battling it out for the title of Ping Pong with Obstacles Champ. Although it is just starting out, many of the players agree that its growth in popularity is a guarantee.
“It’s really funny! It’s a great atmosphere because women, men, and people of all ages can play,” said Maxi De Sousa, who finished third in the tournament. “I love it.”
Check out our video from when the Indy attended the Ping Pong with Obstacles National Championships in Buenos Aires.
The sport of Kin-ball has grown tremendously in popularity throughout gym classes and leagues around the world. Also known as Omnikin, the three-team sport was created in 1986 in Quebec, Canada, by physical education teacher Mario Demers.
The sport contains one giant ball and three teams of four players. Played on a gym floor, the object is to hit the ball so that it touches the ground before the other team can catch it. At the beginning of the game a player throws the ball into the air and yells “Omnikin” and then the colour of the corresponding team. Each team wears either a pink, grey, or black jersey.
“Pink represents the break with tradition, gender equality, and fair representation of women, unification and victory over prejudice. Black represents the game’s increasing speed and calibre, and race equality. Grey represents the galaxy, the future, the approaching Olympic Games, unification, and communication,” said Demers in an interview for the official Kin-Ball website.
The team whose colour is called must then catch or hit the ball so that it stays in the air. Eventually they must have three people holding the ball up with one person preparing to hit the ball. The hitter again yells “Omnikin” and a team colour in hopes of hitting the ball to an area where that team will not be able to keep it up. If the ball touches the ground the team that hit it scores a point.
Games have three periods that last between seven and 15 minutes. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
What started in a gym class has now covered almost the entire globe. The International Kin-ball Federation claims to have 3.8 million participants, primarily from Canada, US, Japan, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Denmark, and Malaysia.
Shuttlecock, or Jianzi, is probably the most successful non-recognised sport on this list having made an appearance between games at the 2011 Universiade Games, the Universiade Games are like Olympic Games for university students across the world. Every athlete attending the Universiade was given a shuttlecock and constant demonstrations of the sport took place in the town of Shenzen, China, where it is wildly popular in the schools.
The sport’s start date however, goes back hundreds of years to the Han Dynasty in China, 206 BC-220 AD. Military troops would play the sport informally to relax and kill time. Ti Jian Zi translates literally into “kick shuttlecock”.
Now there is an International Shuttlecock Federation (ISF) with the seventh World Championships set to take place in Vietnam in 2013. The sport has grown in popularity mainly in Asia but also Europe and the US.
The sport is simple and has essentially the same rules as badminton minus the rackets. Players must keep the shuttlecock in the air by kicking it with their feet, the use of hands is not allowed, and hit it across the net onto the opponent’s side. They are allowed to touch it only once before putting it over. If the shuttlecock hits the ground the player who kicked it across the net earns a point.
Games can be played with two or four players.
Despite its successful showing at the 2011 Universiade Games the sport has still not been accepted and is not on the venue for the 2013 Games in Kanzan, Russia. However, ISF is hoping to change that in the future.
An obscure sport that almost faced extinction, Ring Tennis, or Tennikoit, is believed to have been created in south India. The word “Tennikoit” decribes a circular ring made of rubber. The sport disappeared for many years but then was suddenly revived in the US in the 1930s, when high school girls started to play it. Four decades later and now nearly 20 countries around the world compete for the world championships.
Ring Tennis is played exactly how it sounds. Two opponents stand on either side of the net, which is raised much like a volleyball net, and try to throw the ring so that it hits the ground on the opponent’s side. The play begins when a player serves the ring, by throwing it diagonally over the net to the opponent. The athlete must catch it before it hits the ground and throw it back across the net to the other player. If it touches the ground a point is awarded to the person who threw it.
The game goes up to 21 points although a player must win by two. The match is a set of three games.
The sport has now grown in popularity throughout the world, specifically in India. The Tennikoit Federation of India has 5,000 registered players and has hosted 29 annual championships to date.