6 of the best regional sporting events

Sport taps into a universal sense of passion and enthusiasm. With the excitement running up to the Olympic games in Rio de Janiero next year, we looked into some of the more local sporting events that are worth a look – and might otherwise be missed. So here are six of the best regional sporting events:

Haka Pei, Easter Island

The banana race, which takes place every February during the Tapati festival, is watched by most of the islanders and was a real highlight of my visit to Easter Island. Contestants – mainly men – decorated in body paint and wearing minimal clothing, tie two banana trunks together and launch themselves down a large, steep hill at terrifying speeds. While most fall off, the winner is simply the one who makes it the furthest.

Easter Island

Beer can boat regatta, Australia

The community spirit is truly on show at the regatta held each July. Teams build boats of all shapes and sizes from empty beer cans – soft drink cans for children – and then race them from Darwin’s Mindil Beach. Vessels aren’t tested in the water until the event starts, which adds to the entertainment as unfortunately not many are seaworthy. There’s a real carnival atmosphere with shouts of encouragement from the teams and their families.

Australian beach

Buffalo racing, Cambodia

Each autumn water buffalo races take place in Vihear Sour Cheung, 40km north of Phnom Penh, marking the end of the Pchum Ben or ‘Soul Day’, a festival in which Cambodians honour their ancestors. Spectators flock from all over the province, but with racing beginning at 6am it’s an early start – though one well-worth the lack of sleep. After the racing is over, festivities continue with Khmer wrestling, horse racing and dancing.

water buffalo

Snake boat racing, India

During the Onam harvest festival, backwaters near Aleppey in southern Kerala come to life. Vallam Kali, meaning ‘boat game’, is a traditional race of paddled longboats with up to 150 rowers, plus their singers and drummers. The most famous of all the races, the Nehru Trophy, is held the second Saturday in August. It is a spectacle to behold as each village enters a boat with their best rowers.

Kerala India

Oil wrestling, Turkey

Oil wrestling holds the Guinness world record for the longest running sporting competition. Doused in olive oil and wearing little more than knee-length leather trousers, men compete each year in Kirkpinar’s three-day tournament to determine Turkey’s chief wrestler, or baspehlivan. A fiercely competed affair, the oil seems to serve only as a way of making the competition harder, with participants struggling to grip.

Oil wrestling in Turkey

Pumpkin regatta, Canada

Every autumn since 1999, spectators have flocked to the Windsor Waterfront in Ontario to see people race giant, carved pumpkins 800 metres across Lake Pesaquid. Waiting at the starting line for the words ‘ladies and gentlemen, start your pumpkins’ was a unique experience, as the crowds cheered wildly for the teams about to pumpkin-paddle. There are three classes of racing – experimental, paddle and motor.

Waterfront in Ontario

Katie Cosstick is the PR Manager at Cox & Kings.

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Comments (1)

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  1. Samantha says:

    Snake boat racing in India sounds really cool and a lot of pride for each individual village. It would be cool to see. Thanks for sharing.

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