SM Veckan 2010

Week Starts With Icelandic Wrestling

SM-veckan, or the Swedish Championships Week, began Tuesday morning in Malmö. The goal of the event is simply to "hold as many Swedish championships as possible" according to the Web site for Swedish Public Television which is one of the organizing partners along with the Swedish Sports Confederation. And with that open attitude you can be sure to attract some sports which might not have such a spotlight otherwise.

There will be 15 sports featured during the week including some tournament regulars like golf, cycling, and swimming. There are also tournaments for rugby, sailing, sport shooting, and squash. But there's also some less common sports.

The Glima championship started off the weeklong event. Glima is the national sport of Iceland which resembles Greco-Roman wrestling. Two opponents standing erect hold one another at the waist and then begin to waltz around, trying to gain advantage in order to trip or lift the other to the ground. Tuesday Mathias Gunther won gold in his class and told Swedish Public Television he "wasn't surprised." Only three people participated.

Equestrian vaulting is called gymnastics and dancing on horseback which can involve several athletes on one galloping horse, performing acrobatic manoeuvres.

There'll be kayak polo in which teams of five paddle around a pool trying to throw a ball into a goal, very like water polo except in kayaks. And if that isn't exciting enough for you, tackling is allowed.

There are two events for fishing-rod casting, and neither involves fish. In the first event participants simply cast for distance, and in the second they cast for precision.

But as you might imagine with a list of obscure sports, some events were cancelled at the last second due to a lack of participants. Competitions were cancelled for ultimate Frisbee and bouldering – rock climbing on short, difficult routes. But Frisbee fans will be glad to know the "allround" is still on. The "allround" tests a handful of pure Frisbee skills.

This week's events will be shown on Swedish Public Television's Web site, and even broadcast nationally on television, giving some obscure sports heroes a big stage, if only for a moment.