Weekly sports agenda: World Orienteering, Pinball, and Bicycle Polo Championships

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The Independent Online

Among major upcoming sporting events: The World Orienteering Championships in Norway have separate tracks for spectators who want to try it out for themselves; spare tables at the World Pinball Championships in Pennsylvania, USA, are set to 50 cents a pop; and the World Hardcourt Bike Polo Champs in Berlin welcome 64 hard-knocking teams.

7th Annual Wild West Relay
August 6-7
Colorado, USA

The Wild West Relay is a 200-mile (321 km) relay race for runners of all abilities. Starting at Fort Collins at the foot of the Rockies and finishing at the Steamboat Springs resort, it can get competitive, but with relay teams of up to 12 people, the emphasis is on fun and adventure.

Class 1 World Powerboat Championship
August 6-8
Uddevalla, Sweden

The WPC heads to Sweden for the second Scandinavian stop, after Norway's leg in July. Racing on Saturday, August 7 starts at 5pm local time (BST+1) and 3:30pm on the Sunday.

Red Bull Air Race
August 7-8
Lausitz, Germany

The last event in this year's Air Race calendar after cancellation of Budapest's stage.
Top of the series league is 2009 champion Paul Bonhomme of Great Britain, but both Hannes Arch and Nigel Lamb are chasing for first. Raceday tickets are between €40.20 and €51.40, €5 more for the weekend, nearly half-price for children.

Rugby Union Tri-Nations
Saturdays, July 10 - September 11
Australia /New Zealand - South Africa

A round-robin competition organized by the Australian, New Zealand, and South African Rugby Unions, the Tri Nations matches also play a part in deciding who wins three separate challenge trophies: Australia and New Zealand contest the Bledisloe Cup, Australia and South Africa tussle for the Mandela Challenge Plate, New Zealand and South Africa vie for ownership of the Freedom Cup.

Micronesian Games
August 1-10
Republic of Palau

Welcoming athletes from ten territories within the Micronesian island region, the Games mix local sports with more global activities such as volleyball, weightlifting, and track & field. The Micro All Around is a Micronesian-style quintathlon (coconut climbing, coconut husking and grating, spear throwing, the run and swim, and diving). Fast Pitch is a softball variant and Spearfishing is self-evident.

World Orienteering & Trail Orienteering Championships
August 8-15
Trondheim, Norway

Though the WOC is part of the 12-event Orienteering World Cup, there is also a public participation event called the WOC Tour 2010 that runs over the course of the Championships so all can catch the orienteering buzz. Entry to any remaining places on Tour events is €15 on the day. Spectators to all events go free.

PGA Championship
August 12-15
Haven, Wisconsin, USA

The last of the 2010 season's four majors, golfers from the PGA, European and Japanese tours congregate at the Whistling Straits course for a last shot at glory. Day passes are $95 on Thursday or Friday, $110 for Saturday or Sunday. A seven-day pass is $300. Each adult can bring up to four Under-17s with them.

PAPA 13 World Pinball Championships
August 13-15
Carnegie, Pennsylvania, USA

Six divisions, prizes between $50 and $10,000, charity mini-tournaments with a twist (one-handed, doubles teams, timed games), and basic registration costs of $5. The World Pinball Championships take place within the Professional & Amateur Pinball Association's headquarters, now fully restored after a flood in 2004. Spectators go free, and most unused pinball tables are set to 50-cent play.

World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships
August 13-15
Berlin, Germany

Now in its second year and poised to take advantage of a resurgent interest in bicycle polo, with 40 teams hailing from 14 countries. Free entry for spectators at Berlin's four-court Rennbahnstrasse sports center; drinks and snacks will be available.

ISGA World Cup: Kozakov Challenge
August 11-14
Kozakov hill, nr Turnov, Czech Republic

Riders will cling to longboards, street luges, dirtboards and buttboards as they plunge along a 3km course through forest and field, reaching speeds of up to 105kmh (65mph). Spectators go free - hay bales and netting line the course, refreshments are available on the hill peak and in the village itself.

Worthing International Birdman
August 14-15
Worthing, United Kingdom

West Sussex's seaside town of Worthing welcomes back budding international birdmen, launching themselves from the adjacent pier. Solo fliers and teams of two try to crack the magical 100 meter mark before an inevitable wet landing, though most take part for fun in increasingly ridiculous costumes and contraptions.

Youth Olympic Games
Aug 14-26
Marina Bay Floating Platform, Marina Bay, Singapore

Around five thousand young athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 represent their countries at the YOG, competing in 26 sports from swimming, basketball and handball to table tennis and taekwondo.

World Blind Football Championships
August 14-22
Hereford, United Kingdom

Ten of the world's best blind teams meet at the Royal National College for the Blind, including European champions France, Paralympic title holders Brazil, and reigning world champions Argentina. Tickets are £5 (€6) for adults, £2 (€2.40) for children, students, and seniors.

Women's Rugby World Cup
August 20 - September 5
Guildford and Twickenham, United Kingdom

The top international tournament in women's rugby returns to the UK for its sixth outing: New Zealand, consecutive champions since 1998, will be defending their title against 11 other top teams. Day tickets are £13.90 (€17) for adults or £6.50 for juniors, rising to £27.90 (€33) and £11.90 on the final day. Tournament passes are £64.60 (€77).

Vermont 30 Mile MTB Endurance Challenge
August 21
Pittsfield, Vermont, USA

Also known as the "666", Vermont's 6-hour endurance ride is suitable for teams of relay racers with options for those hardy enough to conquer the circuit solo. There's a King Of The Hill prize for the first to the top on the first lap, and a post-race barbecue for participants. Scenic camp sites are available nearby; solo riders pay $40 to compete, relay teams face a $120 flat fee. Online registration closes Friday August 20, but remains open on-site until 8.30am on the Saturday.

15th Air Guitar World Championships
August 25-28
Oulu, Finland

Twenty-six National Champions, zero guitars, a mysterious dark horse, and one World Champion. Part of the Oulu Music Video Festival, the Air Guitar World Championships have been running since 1996, and in recent years the Finns have seen British, French, Dutch, American and even Japanese. Contestants must wield their invisible axes to 60 face-melting seconds of their own musical selection, and a compulsory song kept secret until the last minute (previous years included shred-fests from Ozzy Osbourne, The Darkness, and Motörhead). Tickets are €20, VIP packages start from €42.

Basket ball: FIBA World Championships
August 28 - September 12

Twenty-four teams from around the globe gather in Turkey's historic cities of Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Kayseri for the 16th FIBA World Championships. Spain are defending champions, and Argentina, Yugoslavia, Greece and the USA have all done well in recent years - though the USA haven't done better than bronze since 1982.

Rugby League: Challenge Cup Final
August 28
London, United Kingdom

This Grand Final has been nearly nine months in the making, drawing participant clubs from all levels of amateur and professional rugby around Europe and Russia. Matchday seats at the new Wembley Stadium can be booked for £21 (€23/$33) up in the high stands to £76 (€85/$120) for prime pitchside views.

F1 Belgian Grand Prix
August 29
Spa, Belgium

Michael Schumacher's going to find it tough to add to his record six wins at Spa this year, after receiving a 10-place starting grind penalty after dangerous - though exciting - driving during the previous GP race. Tickets start from €80 for a no-frills race day pass up to €550 for the weekend's top seats in the best grandstand.
http://www.spagrandprix.com and http://www.formula1.com

Women's Hockey World Cup
August 29 - September 11
Rosario, Argentina

Twelve national sides are placed into two groups for the highest-grade tournament in women's hockey, separating the Dutch champions from their Argentinian hosts. Five continental champions are present, the rest having made it through 2010's preliminary tournaments.