The most extreme places on earth to play sport
St Mary's University have completed renovations on a chamber that emulates extreme conditions to help athletes reach their peak performance. Here Sports Gazette looks at the world's most extreme places to play sport.
Estadio Hernandes Siles in La Paz, Bolivia
This is the highest professional football pitch in the world at 3,637. Playing at this altitude can be tricky for those that are not acclimatized, because of this in May 2007 FIFA introduced a temporary ban on international matches above 2,500 metres because of the bias that it will cause. There was a lot of backlash from Latin America who said it was discriminatory to high-altitude nations and after a month of campaigning against the ban FIFA raised the limit to 3,000 with an exception for Estadio Hernandes Siles so that the stadium could host World Cup qualifying matches.
Antarctic Ice Marathon
This marathon is held annually in November at 80 Degrees South from the South Pole. The competitors battle snow, ice, wind chills of -20 degrees and an altitude of 700 metres whilst running 26.2 miles. This is the southern-most marathon and is no easy feat as competitors also have to contend with 10-25 knot winds and with a lack of supporters and only penguins along the way for company this is a lonely and difficult race to complete.
Underwater Ice Hockey
This sport not only deals with the cold but also being underwater and upside down. The event takes place underneath a frozen lake and consists of two teams of four players who try to get the floating puck into the opposing goal. There are three ten minute periods with each player competing for 30-60 seconds at a time before rotating off with a team mate, this favours fast, quick play.
Holes in the ice are made so that the players can easily come up for air and because the cold is the most dangerous aspect here they also allow easy access for support divers in case anyone passes out underneath the ice.
Marathon des Sables
This event is not for the faint hearted. It involves trekking 250km over six days in the Sahara Desert whilst being totally self-sufficient, carrying one’s own food and water. The water is rationed and time penalties are awarded if the ration is exceeded. The Sahara hosts the most extreme conditions in which to complete this event with temperatures of over 50 degrees combined with the irregular terrain of salt plains, jebels and dunes accompanied by the dirt means that the 80km trek on the 4th day often takes people well over 24 hours to complete pushing the body to the limit.
This might not be a professional event or sport but it is one of the most extreme places to play a perfectly normal sport. This video speaks for itself.