Despite having spent a large amount of time being overlooked by its ever-popular cousins arm and thumb wrestling, toe wrestling is actually another childhood game that has made it ‘big time’ into the world of adult sporting. Even if the whole idea of it does seem rather amusing and perhaps a tad smelly… that's right, it's the World Toe Wrestling Championships. Surprisingly the world toe wrestling championships and the sport of toe wrestling all started in good old England (I was certain the American’s would be responsible), more specifically the ‘Ye Olde Royal Oak Inn’ found in the picturesque village of Wetton, Derbyshire.
A sport’s a sport right?
The locals there figured it was about time there was a sport that us English kids were remotely competent at; so toe wrestling was the obvious answer, right? That was all back in 1976 yet incredibly the game is still very much going strong and the Wetton locals still dominate the sport (though a visiting Canadian did manage to win the title a coule of years back, oops!) Image left: Champion, photographed by Reuters
So how exactly does it all work?
I hear you all ask (well at least I wondered anyway). its a little like arm wrestling in a sense, two competitors sit opposite each other with their feet on a board, they lock toes before trying to force their opponent’s foot down; the best out of three rounds is deemed the winner. Providing you’ve got one big toe with a smaller adjoining one you’re qualified to compete!
It doesn't sound like much of a blood sport but...
Past contestants would beg to differ with their broken toes and sprained ankles! In fact, during the early stages of the sport competitors would actually sit on bar stools which resulted in opponents trying to pull each other off their stool. Now the stools have been banished, just strength and attempting to ‘body rock’ in order to gain more power wont get you very far. Instead competitors hands and bottoms but be flat on the floor whilst their other leg is suspended in the air in a somewhat undignified manner and must not touch the floor. After all, there’s no arm in toe wrestling.
Watch the world champion in action online!
Toe wrestling can 'run in the family'
18 year old Rebecca Beech followed quite literally in the footsteps of her 6 times men’s champion father and former world title holder mother to win this years competition, apparently she’s equipped with size 8 feet and some rather sturdy toes which led to her victory. Watch out kids, she’s planning to defend her title next year - so perhaps it’s best to go down and just spectate next year.
Just in case you wanted to go...
...and have a nosey at this bizarre sport next year, it’s now held in Derbyshire at the Bentley Brooke Inn. Sadly we won’t be seeing it at the Olympics in the next couple of weeks, organizers did apply for it’s inclusion in the Olympic Games back in 1977 but they were refused, boo!