No good at swimming? Try bog snorkelling instead.
Photo: Getty Images
Being world number one is no easy feat. That's especially true if you're having a crack at popular sports such as swimming and athletics. So, if you're serious about obtaining the coveted title of World Champion, it might just pay to think outside the square and give one of these lesser-known pastimes a try.
1. Club swinging
The United States has dominated the world stage in club swinging, which admittedly comes as no surprise given it was the sole nation represented at the event's Olympic debut in 1904, and made up three-quarters of the field during its clean sweep of the medals during the sport's only subsequent appearance in 1932.
Regarded as a type of rhythmic gymnastics, club swinging involves competitors creating complicated patterns with clubs that they swing in each hand. A labour of love rather than a lucrative sponsorship-spinner, 1932 Olympic champion George Roth reportedly hitchhiked home with his medal around his neck moments after losing his job thanks to the Great Depression.
Who you need to beat: Falling under the modern banner of rhythmic gymnastics, the clubs are Russia's domain. Yevgeniya Kanayeva is the current queen, closely followed by Daria Kondakova.
A mixture of jogging and juggling, joggling is a test of patience, co-ordination and fitness for both the endurance and fast-twitch fibre athlete. Events range in distance from 100 metres through to the marathon, in three, five and seven-ball categories. World Joggling Championship record holder for the 100 metre three-ball, Owen Morse, clocked 11.9 seconds for his race in 1988. Carl Lewis' world record time for the 100 metres that year was just 1.97 seconds quicker.
Who you need to beat: David Ferman set two world records this year in three-ball events – 56.23sec for the 400 metres and 2min 55.3sec for the 1000 metres.
3. Bog snorkelling
With rising global temperatures threatening our natural reefs, this is one sport that is set explode in coming decades. The popular Welsh event is a 55 metre race through a bog trench wearing a snorkel, flippers and wet suit. Rules stipulate that conventional swim styles are not allowed. Just as well – imagine how odd you would look doing freestyle in that get-up.
Who you need to beat: Andrew Holmes, UK (world champion).
4. Extreme ironing
A perfect sport for the begrudged housewife, extreme ironing turns up the heat on what is widely regarded as one of the most loathsome household chores. Imagination knows no bounds with this sports/performance art hybrid, which sees participants head to remote and creative locations – underwater, off cliffs, on flying foxes and in the snow to name but a few – and record themselves completing an otherwise mind-numbing task.
Who you need to beat: Inga 'Hot Pants' Kosak, Germany (inaugural world champion).
Developed by a Spanish-based Belgian, this fast-paced team sport combines elements of volleyball, beach soccer, gymnastics and the Afro-Brazilian artform of capoeira. Two teams of between three and five players take to an inflatable court and attempt to ground the ball in the opposition's space using various parts of their bodies. The 'jumper' is by far the most entertaining player to watch, completing acrobatic somersaults and flips on an inbuilt trampoline before smashing the ball into opposition territory. What could possibly go wrong?
Who you need to beat: Belgium defeated six other nations to take home the 2011 European Championship and defend their 2010 title.
Naturally gifted sportspeople inevitably reach a point in their lives when they must choose between their two loves. Football or cricket? Gymnastics or diving? Chess or boxing? Solving an age-old conundrum for the fighting man who also boasts high-level deductive logic, chessboxing alternates between bouts of extreme violence and civilised strategic thinking. A match goes for up to 11 rounds and is decided by a checkmate or knockout.
Who you need to beat: Leo Granit Kraft, Germany (light heavyweight world champion)
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of BigPond Sport.