Outside Edge: This grand slam is poles apart

Andrew Tong
Sunday 17 July 2011 00:00 BST

What does a rugby player do when his career comes to a premature end at the age of 31 because of injury? Sit and sulk? Open a pub?

Or, in former Wales flanker Richard Parks' case, become the fastest to climb the highest mountain on every continent and trek to both poles, a challenge known as the Explorers' Grand Slam. It took the 33-year-old six months, 11 days, seven hours and 53 minutes to achieve the feat in his bid to raise £1m for the Marie Curie cancer charity.

In China Liu Peiwen has a long walk ahead before he can win the hand of his girlfriend Ling Hsueh. She is a fan of Scottish band The Proclaimers and she told him he had to "walk 500 miles" and then "walk 500 more" before she would marry him. She didn't mean it but he had already set off from his home in Anyang on the road to her house in Guangzhou, which happens to be 1,000 miles away. "He's such a fruitcake," she said.

All that way for no raisin at all.


The fraction of a point that Wales trail the Faroe Islands in Fifa's football world rankings, following calculations made by Faroese political science student Jakup Emil Hansen to clarify the battle for 114th place. Wales are now in the lowest pot of seeds for the World Cup qualifiers. Faroe enough.

Football is a very funny old game

The first rules of football were auctioned by Sotheby's last week and fetched £881,250. Far-fetched? Not as much as some of the "Laws".

The handbook was sold by Sheffield FC, acknowledged by Fifa as the world's oldest club, and was written in 1858. It stipulates that handball is allowed so long as you don't hang on to the ball, and you can catch it if it hasn't touched the ground. There were 20 players a side and "pushing" was permitted as the game shook off its rugby roots. Matches lasted for two hours, which would please Fergie.

An attempt by the World Egg Federation to have egg-throwing recognised as an official sport has been rejected by Sport England. Organisers of the World Championships at Swaton, Lincolnshire wanted it to be a demonstration sport at London 2012 but presumably Lord Coe and Co didn't want to end up with egg on their faces.

Good week

Kulsoom Abdullah, the American weightlifter, won the right to be the first woman to wear a full-body hijab in official competition at the US Championships.

Christian Lopez, the fan who caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit for the New York Yankees and returned the ball instead of selling it, will be commemorated on a special baseball card.

Owen Price, a 12-year-old off spinner from Somerset, took two hat-tricks in successive overs for Westlands.

Bad week

Brighton and Hove Albion, aka the Seagulls, whose new stadium at Falmer features the birds painted across the seating complete with droppings falling, before they were scrubbed off.

Werder Bremen players have been banned from having any more tattoos by the club due to the danger of septic infection keeping them out of the team.

GB track and field athletes were told they won't be allowed to attend London 2012's opening ceremony because they would be standing up for too long.

In Utah the hunt is on for a prize idiot

And so another Redneck Games comes to an end in East Dublin, Georgia. It's back to the boondocks for another year after this festival of armpit serenading, toilet seat tossing, watermelon seed spitting and, of course, the mudpit bellyflop.

But help is at hand for these adrenalin junkies. An unemployed man from Utah is advertising himself as the prey for hunting enthusiasts for $10,000. Mork Encino says: "I'm faster than a wild turkey, smart as any goddamn wild boar and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the monetary health of my family." He offers "a prize human mount for your wall and all income from any organ harvest".

But it doesn't end there. Oh no, for a further $2,000 he will do it naked. Sounds like he should take part in today's London Backward Run in Crystal Palace park, but he should ignore any tips he might have picked up at yesterday's World Snail Racing Championships in Congham, Norfolk, or he could be in for a shell shock.

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