As It Happens

Meet Alan 'Nasty' Nash, 14-time toe wrestling world champion

Competitors in Fenny Bentley, a small town in Derbyshire, England, put their best foot forward this past weekend in the World Toe Wrestling Championship, an unusual event that's been going strong for more than 40 years.
Alan 'Nasty' Nash celebrates winning the World Toe Wrestling championship in June 2013. Nash out-toed 'Doc Toe Scholl' to claim his 14th world title this past weekend. (Darren Staples/Reuters)
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Competitors in Fenny Bentley, a small town in Derbyshire, England, put their best foot forward this past weekend in the World Toe Wrestling Championship, an unusual event that's been going strong for more than 40 years.

The sport is much like thumb wrestling, only with your toes. Competitors lie on the floor opposite each other, and interlock their big toes in between two small planks. Whoever manages to wrest their opponent's foot to touch a nearby panel wins a point.

In the men's final current World champion Alan 'Nasty' Nash out-toed 'Doc Toe Scholl' to claim his 14th world title, his 6th win in succession. He first won the event in 1994.

When As It Happens guest host Jim Brown asked if he had large toes to overpower his opponents, Nash replied that they are "not that big, actually. They're short and stubby which is good because they don't snap as easily."

14-time champion Alan 'Nasty' Nash competes at the world toe wrestling competition in England 2:34

According to Nash, proper posture is key to winning, but also strictly enforced to ensure one competitor doesn't have an unfair amount of leverage over his or her opponent.

"You've got to keep your bum on the floor at all times. Both your hands have got to stay on the floor, and the leg that you're not wrestling has to be up in the air," he says.

It might not sound like the most physically demanding sport, but toe wrestling is no walk in the park. Nash has suffered his share of cuts, bruises and broken toes over his career.

One year, he broke four toes during a semi-final bout — but it didn't stop him from going on to win it all.

Alan 'Nasty' Nash, left, beats Jeremy 'Hard Toe' Hine in the 2013 World Toe Wrestling championship finals. (Darren Staples/Reuters)

"I actually walked off the stage, snapped my toes back as straight as I could, and put them into a bucket of ice. I kept the swelling down and went back in for the finals, and I won the finals," he recalls.

"The trouble with it was a few months I realized one of the toes hadn't gone back right, and I had to go in the hospital, and had to get the toe taken off and put back on again. So I didn't compete the year after."

Nash doesn't limit himself to toe wrestling when it comes to excelling in unusual or esoteric abilities. He currently holds the Guinness World Record for smashing the most eggs with his toes in one minute — 60 eggs, or one egg per second. He showed off his feet's feat on Britain's Got Talent in 2009.

'Nasty' Nash's insignia is seen on his championship-winning toe. (Darren Staples/Reuters)

The competition began in Derbyshire in 1976 when a group of walkers at the Ye Olde Royal Oak Inn in the village of Wetton set about searching for a game that only the British could win. With a lack of any talent in existing sports, the decision was made to invent a new one and the weird event has been an annual highlight ever since.

A podiatrist, Alison Barley, was on hand for toe inspections prior to the competition. Contestants must have their toes thoroughly examined for signs of fungus and injury before being given clearance to compete.

Nash, 55, hopes to retire some time soon, but only when he finds a worthy successor.

"I'm very patriotic, and I want to make sure that when I retire it's a good Englishman who beats me," he told As It Happens. "There's no way I'm retiring this year, and hopefully next year somebody will be coming up that's good enough to hand the reins over to. But I doubt it."

With files from Reuters