Events Planner: Sporting Life

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The Independent Travel

SWITZERLAND

SWITZERLAND

St Moritz, Winter Events, 20-22 February

These three events - bobrun skating, the International Horn Sled Race and Gold Rush Dog Races on Ice - held in St Moritz, one of the world's most fashionable skiing destinations, are for participants with nerves of steel. Bobrun skating involves skating down a bobsled run in full ice hockey gear. The International Horn Sled race is no less perilous - traditional antiquated peasant sleighs with horn runners try to make it to the end of the Olympic bobsled run in record time. Finally, the Gold Rush Dog Races involves 70 dogs of varying sizes and breeds racing along a 500m track on the frozen St Moritz Lake. There are 11 races throughout the day. For ticketing information call 00 41 8 1837 3333, or see www.stmoritz.ch.

THAILAND

Thai Sports and Kite Festival, 1-2 March

Kite-flying is a national sport in Thailand. Historically, kites were even used in combat, dropping explosives on to enemy territories. Kings of Thailand also held kite-flying contests and there was much prestige for the winners. This annual contest, held in Bangkok, is a popular event. One highlight will be the chula-pakpao fighting kite contest, where two teams of flyers try to bring down the other team's kite. Accompanying the kites will be displays of Thai sports such as Thai boxing and sword fighting. For more information call 020-7925 2511 or visit www.thailandgrandfestival.com

NIGERIA

Argungu, Fishing Festival, 17-20 March

This lively and colourful festival demonstrates the fishing skills of people from all corners of Nigeria, who arrive in decorated fishing boats for the competition. The festival is free for spectators. For more information call 00 234 9234 2764, or visit www.nigeriatourism.net.

NORWAY

The Drambuie, World Ice Golf, Championship, 1-3 April

This gruelling 36-hole competition takes place on the remote island of Spitsbergen in temperatures that have been known to dip to -30C. Competitors playing on the frozen landscape of the Arctic Sea include a mix of professional golfers, members of the media and celebrities, but the competition is also open to serious golfers who think they are up to the challenge. The skill of the players against this stunning backdrop of glaciers and snow, and the odd polar bear, make this an unusual but exciting event. To enquire about entering the competition call 00 47 79 02 56 60 or see www.drambuie.com.

TOBAGO

Goat and Crab Racing, 5-6 April

These traditional races are more serious than you might imagine - in fact they are one of the island's most anticipated events and goats are trained for months in advance. On 5 April warm-up goat racing and various other sporting events take place at Mount Pleasant. The following day the activities move to the town of Buccoo with the main goat races, which see goats going head-to-head, with their owners spurring them on from behind to make it to the finishing line. The tempo slows down considerably with the crab racing that follows. For more information call 001 868 639 2125 or visit www.tobagoguide.com.

JAPAN

The March Basho, 14-28 March

The ancient sport of sumo wrestling has been a central part of Japanese culture for thousands of years. It has played an integral role in religious rituals, military training and national sport, and today still carries as much prestige as it always has. There are six sumo tournaments (Basho) in Japan each year, each lasting for 15 days. This particular Basho takes place in Osaka at the Municipal Gymnasium. Bouts begin at 9:30am and finish at 6pm. To book tickets call 00 81 6 6631 0120, or see www.sumo.or.jp. Tickets can also be bought at the venue.

CANADA

Winterlude, Ottawa, 6-22 February, (weekends only)

Since 1979 Canada has been celebrating winter with a February festival, called, aptly enough, Winterlude. Think ice sculptures, ice-skating on the frozen Rideau Canal (the world's longest ice skating rink at 7.8km), ice-carving competitions, ice-hockey games, a hospital bed race on ice, and a ski marathon. For children there are horse-drawn sleigh and dogsleigh rides and a playground made out of snow. Many of the events are free, but for some there's a small fee. For details of events and prices call 001 613 239 5000, or see www.canadascapital.gc.ca/winterlude.

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