Flynn 5: The most dangerous sports in the world

Graphic Courtesy / Dianne Khaye Ruaya

5. Kabaddi
The sport is a team version of wrestling. The playing area is a 13 by 10 metre grassed area or mat. Each team has seven players on the court. One side lines up its players by holding each other’s arms in a line (anti-raiders), and facing one member of the other team (raider) with the objective of not getting touched by the raider. Once the anti-raider is touched by the raider, he must go after the raider to avoid being sent out of play. Once every member is sent out by the raider, the teams switch. At the same time, the raider has to loudly chant the word “kabaddi” without taking breaths in a raid. The sport originated in South Asia and is the national sport of Bangladesh.

4. Chess Boxing
It is exactly what it sounds like. Up to 11 rounds of alternating boxing and chess playing. The match starts with four minutes of chess followed by three minutes of boxing. Speed chess is used in order for the players to get through a whole game in 12 minutes. The sport was envisioned in 1992 by cartoonist Enki Bilal, and chess boxing was featured in his graphic novel Froid Équateur.

3. Bo-Taoshi
It is the Japanese twist on capture the flag; the name Bo-Taoshi means ‘pull the pole down.’ The goal is to remove the opponent from the top of his pole by any means necessary (kicking, punching, biting etc). Even players who have been injured or knocked out can be used as weapons against other opponents. The rule is that there are no rules, and even though a referee is appointed, he has no real purpose. The game is mostly played by Japanese military cadets for training.

2. Jai Alai
You might recognize this from the Dos Equis commercials. It is most comparable to squash. The game is played in a round-robin format, with eight teams of two players, or eight single players. The first team to amass seven or nine points wins. Each player wears a helmet and has a woven basket like a scoop called a “xisteria” attached to his hand. He hurls the ball at the floor between lines four and seven (as in squash), it bounces back and has to be caught and thrown again by the opponent in one fluid motion. The ball is made of tightly wound wire, wrapped in goat skin. The fastest recorded speed of the ball is 328 km/h.

1. Hurling
It’s the ultimate athletic sport. It combines hockey, baseball, and lacrosse, with field goals, net goals, sticks shaped like axes and full contact. The ball is cork, covered in leather; a lot like a baseball, but called a “sliotar.” There are penalties in the game, which are taken as a change of possession much like soccer. Helmets and faceguards were instated as mandatory in 2010 after 179 years without them in the sport.