Sports Shorts: Octopus wrestling, Club trumps Ibiza and Bolt brace

THE CURIOUS CASE OF OCTOPUS WRESTLINGTo many of us, the extinction of our favourite sports seems both unrealistic and unimaginable, but for fans of octopus wrestling, this became an unfortunate reality in 2013. Competitive octopus wrestling had its golden era in the 1960s. Hundreds of divers would compete in the World Octopus Wrestling Championships with crowds of thousands flocking to take in the spectacle and network TV broadcasting the event. The competition saw the athletes attempt to catch as many octopi as they could in 2 hours, with points awarded per pound the octopus weighed. Gary Keffler, a 3-time World Champion, once wrestled an octopus that was 21ft long and detailed that the best way to catch them is to ‘grab them where the tentacles meet the head’. The furore around this sport dampened majorly in the ‘70s as the cruelty of it became clear and people began to appreciate the intelligence and complexity of the animals. Extinction arrived when the harassing of octopi was outlawed by the State of Washington. PLAYING CLUB TRUMPS IBIZAIf there are any young GAA players out there looking for a lesson in commitment, they need look no further than County Down star Connaire Harrison. The All-Star nominee flew home in the middle of his 5-day stag do in Ibiza to play his club’s (Neadsen Gaels) intermediate Championship final in London, before flying straight back to the party island after the game. The forward, despite having recently admitted that his ‘toughest opponent’ is alcohol, tweeted his manager to assure him he wouldn’t be drinking before the game. Indeed he certainly didn’t seem to be feeling the effects of the getaway; he landed 3 points and won 2 penalties as his team completed a league and championship double with a 2-13 to 0-13 win over St Joseph’s. A happy man in the Departures lounge so, even if he did pick up a busted nose and lip during the game. BOLT BANGS IN BRACE Usain Bolt continued his quest to earn a professional contract in the Australian soccer league as he scored twice in a recent trial match for the Central Coast Mariners. Sporting the number ‘95 in reference to his world-record sprint time, he netted his first goal with a well taken individual effort; holding off the defender before firing the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot. The second goal was rather simpler; tapping into an empty net after a defensive mix-up. Signs of improvement from his twenty-minute cameo in his first trial game were clear. His running off the ball is smarter but despite leaving the field in the 75th minute to a rousing standing ovation, there is still work to be done with Bolt himself noting that his ‘vision’ needs to improve. THE SCARIEST MAN IN BOXINGThere aren’t many boxers in the world who can instill such fear in their opponents that they make them leave the ring without throwing a single punch, but that’s exactly what Efe Ajagba did to Curtis Harper – at least, that’s how Ajagba’s promoter sees it. Harper lost the heavyweight bout in dramatic fashion after exiting the ring as the bell rang for the first round to start! The crowd watched, dumbfounded, as Harper walked alone back to the locker rooms. Ajagba was ruled the winner by way of disqualification just one second into the fight. Whether the fear of Ajagba was actually the reason for Harper’s hasty exit remains ambiguous. Harper has reportedly said it was due to him not being paid enough to fight and because he wants respect.