Lads in loincloths battle for a ball in Vietnamese mud game

Footage has emerged of an unusual sporting event in Vietnam involving a wooden ball, young men in loincloths, and a lot of mud.

The unique festival is held in May every year in Bac Giang province. The festival is called ‘Vật Cầu Nước’ in Vietnamese, which translates as ‘Wrestling Festival Ball on Mud’ in English.

The festival, which is a chance to pray for abundant crops, good health, and favourable weather, is said to have continued for hundreds of years.

The tournament pitch is a mud pool, each team is made up of eight young men, and their job is to rob a large wooden ball from the other side and carry it to a small hole in their opponent’s end. The ball weighs about 20 kilograms and matches take 30 minutes.

The festival is held across three days.